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Facebook’s initial decision to separate the instant messaging functionality from the main, official iOS app was met with a few raised eyebrows. However, since that point way back in August 2011, the Messenger app has been at the crux of the social network’s major expansion plans, and with VoIP calling being among the more significant implementations to Facebook Messenger, those residing in the United Kingdom can also join in the fun. The service, which goes straight for the jugular of services like Skype, has hitherto only been available to those in the United States (and, more recently, Canada). The news will certainly delight many British Facebook users, and seeing as the feature is running live, users do not need to download a new version of Facebook Messenger in order to enjoy it.

The new feature started out by allowing users to record and send simple voice messages, and after a successful pilot, the voice calling feature was then rolled out to users in the US. The usual prose, following a Stateside launch, sees the likes of Canada and the UK gain support, and so has proven on this particular occasion.

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The VoIP calling works over both 3G or Wi-Fi, and will certainly aid those with limited quantities of calling minutes to use. Thus, while the Microsoft-owned Skype will be watching closely the movements of the revamped Messenger app, so to will the major network operators. Mobile carriers have had to rethink and rejig their business models several times over the past few years, as free messaging services have made the Web allowance even more valuable, and one suspects there will be further changes and alterations as companies adjust to these contemporary means of communication.

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With over a billion users, it’s feasible that Facebook’s calling system could even eclipse other services such as Skype – the go-to service in the VoIP game.

Much in the same way the UK and Canada releases follow the US, Android releases are never far behind iOS launches; thus, it shouldn’t be too long before the Facebook Messenger app for Android gets a similar kind of treatment.

Although, as aforementioned, you don’t need to download any updated version of Facebook Messenger for iOS, simply launch the App Store on your iOS device and the latest version should show up as an update in the Updates tab.

Be sure to check out our iPhone Apps Gallery and iPad Apps Gallery to explore more apps for your iPhone and iPad.

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