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Call me on my Facebook, yeah?

19 апреля 2010

Internet-based telephony provider fonYou has said it will launch a Facebook mobile application that will allow users to have a "Facebook number".

The idea is that Facebook users will sign up for the appllication, which will give them a second number, alongside their usual mobile number, without having to buy an extra phone or SIM. Then the fonYou-driven application will import Facebook contacts into the application's address book automatically, as well as letting other users know that user is using the app - asking them to add the number to their contacts.

The attraction of having a Facebook number is that a user can keep their "private" number, whilst allowing Facebook contacts to contact him through the second "social network" number.

The application will be available in May 2010, fonYou CEO Fernando Núñez Mendoza said. One thing worth noting is that this is not a VoIP or internet telephony app integrated into Facebook. It is regular mobile telephony with a second number distributed through and on Facebook, and managed from within Facebook.

"The implications are radical. Operators have to go where the users are and the most impressive growth of users currently is on Facebook," said Núñez Mendoza. He sees mobile operators using the application to poach customers, without having to bear the usual customer acquisition costs of subsidising handsets. It also gives them a link to benefit from existing online communities, instead of being threatened by them, he added.

"This is the most important thing that we are doing," Núñez Mendoza said. "All our [operator] customers want to have this as it gives them the know-how to approach online communities. Users will be able to safely publish a Facebook number on the social network."

So how will operators make money from the service. Núñez Mendoza said he saw operators offering the service on Freemium basis, with the basic service perhaps being offered free and premium services being offered and billed for through the normal billing channel. And operators will still collect interconnect revenues for calls terminated to their numbers, he added.

Mobile Europe covered the basic elements of fonYou's service back in February. Essentially, fonYou offers a web front end for users that enables them to create their own online address book, manage call controls, as well as see and forward voicemails as emails, and other web-related functions.

As well as operating as an MVNO in Spain since 2008, the company markets the service as a white label service to mobile operators i other markets. It sees its value either as a tool to attract users of other networks, or to increase value and loyalty among operators' existing users.

Источник: Mobile Europe

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