In April 2015, Facebook launched a cross-platform video chat service through its Messenger mobile apps to users in 18 countries, including the U.S. and U.K. In a recent announcement, Facebook announced the launch of the video chat service globally, “with the exception of a few countries” that the social network is still working on. Unfortunately, Facebook has not yet disclosed which countries are not included, but comments on the announcement point towards United Arab Emirates, India, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and others.
David Marcus, vice president of Messaging Products at Facebook, announced the global launch on his timeline:
Quick update on video calling in Messenger: we’re happy to share we’ve now rolled out the capability globally, with the exception of a few countries we’re still working on improving quality for. So make sure you get the latest and greatest version for iOS and Android, give it a try, and as always… tell us how we can make it even better for you!
With the new feature, a video icon appears at the top of conversation threads. Tapping the icon will initiate a video call across platforms using Wi-Fi or LTE connections. This puts Facebook squarely in competition with Apple’s own FaceTime, Microsoft’s Skype, and other similar services.
In April 2014, Facebook added the ability to make voice calls using the Messenger app. This made it easy and inexpensive to call your Facebook friends in other countries, since international calling rates tend to be expensive and Messenger’s voice chat service is free of charge aside from possible data usage costs.
Facebook Messenger’s video calling feature is also free of charge, allowing you to have an even more personal conversation with your friends all over the world. If you don’t yet see the option to place a video call, make sure you are running the latest version of Facebook Messenger, a free download from the App Store.