I won't call these "telephone calls" as there is no telephone involved. However, a new service by T-Mobile allows you to make voice calls to any of 600 million computer users and the service will soon be expanded. Watch out, Skype, you now have serious competition. In fact, between Skype and T-Mobile, this could be the end of telephones as we know them.
T-Mobile has introduced Bobsled, a new application for Facebook users that allows them to actually chat with friends on Facebook using a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) voice chat. Today's new announcement is limited only to Facebook users but the company plans to expand that within a few weeks.
Bobsled is a “a new brand aimed at bridging the world of traditional telecommunications with Internet-based voice and data services” according to the T-Mobile Blog. Now, all 600 million users of Facebook have nearly instant ability to call anyone and everyone they are friends with on Facebook. To do so, you don't need a phone and you don't need a phone number.
Bobsled by T-Mobile allows Facebook users to voice chat. The Bobsled application for Facebook is quick to download, install, and use. Simply go to http://www.facebook.com/letsbobsled and install the plugin. Then, open Facebook again in a new tab or window in your browser, and open up your chat list. You will then see a phone next to each friend’s name. If your friend has also installed Bobsled, you can instantly initiate a free call, whether from Mac to Mac, PC to PC, or any combination, with your Friend.
You will also need working speakers and working microphones on both ends to make the call successful.
T-Mobile says their plans are to evolve to include video chat and the ability to place VoIP calls to mobile and landline U.S. numbers by offering applications on smartphones and tablets across various mobile platforms, regardless of the carrier that powers such devices. If this succeeds, it may revolutionize our concept of a "phone."
To get started with Bobsled on Facebook today, go to www.letsbobsled.com for more information.
Here is the official announcement from T-Mobile:
T-Mobile Launches Bobsled by T-Mobile – A New Communications Brand to Bridge the Traditional Telco and IP Worlds
The Brand’s Facebook Calling Application Will Provide Free, One-Touch Calling Within Facebook to More Than 500 Million Consumers Worldwide
BELLEVUE, Wash. — April 19, 2011 —T-Mobile today introduced Bobsled by T-Mobile, a new brand aimed at bridging traditional telecommunications and Internet-based voice and data services to enable people to stay connected in a simple and cost-effective way. The first product available under the new Bobsled™ by T-Mobile brand is a Bobsled application for Facebook, which provides Facebook’s more than 500 million users worldwide with free, one-touch calling to their Facebook friends from a personal computer and through the social platform’s chat window.
In addition to making live voice calls across the globe, users will also be able to send voice messages to their friends either privately or via their ‘walls.’ The Bobsled application for Facebook is available today as a free download for all Facebook users and is not exclusive to T-Mobile customers. This captures a unique opportunity for the brand, as a recent survey found that 88% of Facebook users surveyed want voice chat capabilities within the site.*
"T-Mobile’s focus is to innovate to provide simple and affordable communications for customers, enabling people to stay connected wherever they are," said Brad Duea, senior vice president, T-Mobile USA. "Bobsled by T-Mobile takes our communications services innovation to a whole new dimension, bringing simple and cost-effective connections to more than half a billion people overnight, allowing people on Facebook to more easily connect and giving voice to social networking. Our new Bobsled brand will evolve in the coming months to provide even more ways for people to connect, no matter what platform, device or mobile provider they are using."
Once downloaded, customers can use the Bobsled application for Facebook to place voice calls to their friends through Facebook Chat with just one click. This is one of the first VoIP application seamlessly integrated into Facebook Chat, which makes it quick and simple to place an impromptu call to a Facebook friend. The application eliminates the need for dialing – users simply click on a friend’s name to start the conversation. There’s also no need to remember screen names or to input numbers. With the new application, customers can also leave a voice message for friends when they’re not available. Anyone on Facebook can receive a call; no application download is required to receive a call via the Bobsled application for Facebook.
As the way people communicate transcends networks and devices, Bobsled by T-Mobile positions T-Mobile as a provider of cloud-based communications services over the Internet. In addition to providing Facebook users with one-touch calling, Bobsled by T-Mobile also powers the Group Text™ and Cloud Text™ applications on the new T-Mobile® Sidekick® 4G. Sidekick’s Group Text feature lets customers create, name, manage and participate in reply-all group text conversations, enabling them to lead their network in conversation and social planning. Cloud Text provides the option to text with friends or groups across platforms, whether from the comfort of their PC’s large screen and keyboard, or from their new Sidekick 4G.
In the near future, T-Mobile plans to evolve Bobsled by T-Mobile to include video chat, the ability to place VoIP calls to mobile and landline U.S. numbers, and will offer applications on smartphones and tablets across various mobile platforms, regardless of the carrier that powers such devices.
The Facebook application for Bobsled by T-Mobile is powered by Vivox, Inc., the number one integrated voice platform for the Social Web offering high quality, best-in-class voice capabilities for clear and crisp calls. For more information about Vivox, please visit: www.vivox.com.
For more information on Bobsled by T-Mobile, please visit: www.letsbobsled.com
To download the Bobsled application within Facebook, please visit: http://apps.facebook.com/bobsledbytmo
* According to an internet survey conducted by Vivox and T-Mobile in March 2011.
About T-Mobile USA, Inc.
Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile USA, Inc. is the U.S. wireless operation of Deutsche Telekom AG. By the end of the fourth quarter of 2010, approximately 130 million mobile customers were served by the mobile communication segments of the Deutsche Telekom group — 33.7 million by T-Mobile USA — all via GSM and UMTS, the world’s most widely-used digital wireless standards. Today, T-Mobile operates America's largest 4G network, and is delivering a compelling 4G experience across a broad lineup of leading devices in more places than competing 4G services. T-Mobile USA’s innovative wireless products and services empower and enable people to stay connected and productive while mobile. Multiple independent research studies continue to rank T-Mobile USA as a leader in customer care and customer satisfaction. For more information, please visit http://www.T-Mobile.com. T-Mobile is a federally registered trademark of Deutsche Telekom AG. For further information on Deutsche Telekom, please visit www.telekom.de/investor-relations.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that reflect the current views of Deutsche Telekom management with respect to future events. These forward-looking statements may include statements with regard to the expected development of revenue, earnings, profits from operations, depreciation and amortization, cash flows and personnel-related measures. You should consider them with caution. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, most of which are difficult to predict and are generally beyond Deutsche Telekom’s control. Among the factors that might influence our ability to achieve our objectives are the progress of our workforce reduction initiative and other cost-saving measures, and the impact of other significant strategic, labour or business initiatives, including acquisitions, dispositions and business combinations, and our network upgrade and expansion initiatives. In addition, stronger than expected competition, technological change, legal proceedings and regulatory developments, among other factors, may have a material adverse effect on our costs and revenue development. Further, the economic downturn in our markets, and changes in interest and currency exchange rates, may also have an impact on our business development and the availability of financing on favourable conditions. Changes to our expectations concerning future cash flows may lead to impairment write downs of assets carried at historical cost, which may materially affect our results at the group and operating segment levels. If these or other risks and uncertainties materialize, or if the assumptions underlying any of these statements prove incorrect, our actual performance may materially differ from the performance expressed or implied by forward-looking statements. We can offer no assurance that our estimates or expectations will be achieved. Without prejudice to existing obligations under capital market law, we do not assume any obligation to update forward-looking statements to take new information or future events into account or otherwise.
In addition to figures prepared in accordance with IFRS, Deutsche Telekom also presents non-GAAP financial performance measures, including, among others, EBITDA, EBITDA margin, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA margin, adjusted EBIT, adjusted net income, free cash flow, gross debt and net debt. These non-GAAP measures should be considered in addition to, but not as a substitute for, the information prepared in accordance with IFRS. Non-GAAP financial performance measures are not subject to IFRS or any other generally accepted accounting principles. Other companies may define these terms in different ways.
If you enjoyed this article, please Tweet it, share it on Facebook or on your preferred social network.
Of course, if you haven’t done so already, you can join my email newsletter mailing list to stay current on my latest articles and announcements. You can also cancel at any time within seconds. I promise to never, ever send you any unrequested e-mail, other than newsletter updates.