Last week, Orange in collaboration with Facebook threw Hello, the launch party of “Party Call”.
Party Call is a social networking based calling app that will allow Facebook users to call their friends without even knowing their cell phone numbers. Good or bad? We will find that out when the app is officially launched, in France in summer 2013, followed by other European nations. The app will be rolled out to various mobile and desktop platforms.
Since Party Call won’t be relying on cell phone numbers, it definitely has the potential to be a global product, such as Skype. According to a Facebook spokesperson, “By connecting its Party Call service to Facebook, Orange will be able to offer customers a truly personal experience. It is a great example of how companies can use Facebook’s open developer platform to make their products social. We are really happy that Facebook is transforming telecoms just as it has gaming, music, video and numerous other online services”.
It appears that Party Call will be even more integrated with Facebook than T-Mobile’s Bobsled, a service that was withdrawn soon after launch due to its design, which made it appear as a Facebook offering.
Thanks to Facebook’s open API that allows high integration of the service, users will be able to invite friends and post the call details to Facebook. The app will be available in both free and premium versions. The premium version, priced at £6.99 in the UK, would include extra features such as customized voicemail, message transcription, etc.
What does the launch of Party Call and similar services mean for the telecom players? Essentially, they'll have another service that will attempt to rob them of the already dwindling voice revenues. Of course Party Call is expected to compete directly with services like Whatsapp, Skype, and Viber.
Given the proliferation of Facebook, a successful debut of Party Call might turn the service in the next big disruption after Skype. Sometimes in the close future, you might not need to ask for phone numbers, and instead you could just befriend people on Facebook to add them to your phone contacts.
How many of you think that Party Call (or something along the lines of it) could be the next big thing? Would you like to see a Facebook phone next? Tell us.