updated 09:00 pm EDT, Mon May 23, 2011
Service allows VOIP calls between users
Exactly a month after taking down the service in April, T-Mobile's Bobsled VOIP Facebook calling will return with a new look this week to distinguish it more clearly from any Facebook communications option, the company announced. Facebook had originally requested that the company change the look of the application, fearing it would confuse users by resembling too closely an official Facebook service. The service, which will also work on T-Mobile Android phones, allows Facebook users to call each other by their contact names, even if the recipient does not have the app.
The company plans to expand the Bobsled service to other smartphones, including non-T-Mobile Android phones as well as iPhones. Users do not have to be customers of T-Mobile to use the service. In addition to allowing VOIP calls while logged into Facebook chat, the service also supports private and wall voicemail messages. T-Mobile took down the service voluntarily on April 25th after receiving notification from Facebook that the service was in violation of their policies. Facebook said at the time it would work with T-Mobile to help them "clearly differentiate" the service.
The Bobsled service is a partnership between T-Mobile and Vivox, the latter company known for providing VOIP services to other social networks, most notably online gaming services. Both companies eventually plan to offer video chatting as well through Bobsled.