Aug 20, 2019 | Updated: 11:45 AM EDT

Facebook's new Phone App Could Make Carriers Tremble

Mar 23, 2015 07:57 PM EDT

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Facebook Phone
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It seems wireless phone carriers might need to keep an eye on Facebook. The social media giant accidentally leaked information about a new app its testing, known as Phone. This news comes as no surprise to industry insiders that believe that Facebook wants to become the center of how we communicate with the world around us.

The app appears to be a type of dialer for Android that shows information about who is calling. The service can also automatically block calls from commonly blocked numbers. A spokesman confirmed that Facebook was testing the new service after the screenshots of an install update were leaked.

So why does Facebook want to give users a native dialer? Facebook has allowed users to make video calls using the desktop client since 2011 and voice calls with Facebook Messenger since 2013. But these services require that users on both ends are using the same Facebook feature with the calls taking place using a mobile carrier network or through Wi-Fi. A native dialer would allow users to use the service through the voice networks of mobile carriers and lift the requirement that users on both end use the service.

With this new revelation it seems that Facebook plans to wedge itself between users and their carriers when users are performing one of the most basic acts that mobile carriers rely on to make money - making voice calls.

Some international carriers are still feeling the sting of lost revenue from WhatsApp, with over 700 million active users, took out over the last five years with its free texting service.

The messaging service, which Facebook now owns, is now rolling out a free voice calling service. While this won't use a native dialer, it could potentially take yet another chunk of revenue from the carriers, this time with voice.

So should carriers be worried about Phone? While it could be easy to dismiss, the potential is there for Facebook to begin to take the revenue once held so dear by mobile carriers. Still, even if it doesn't go beyond the testing phase, Facebook's desire to become a more integral part of users' day to day communication could mean that users that users would eventually stop relying on the voice and texting from their mobile carriers and instead focus on Facebook for all their communication needs. This could potentially cause a serious erosion of revenue for mobile carriers that could change the way we communicate forever.

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