Blog Post

T-Mobile Gets Its iPhone Moment…Via Its Bobsled Internet Calling App

No, T-Mobile is still the only major carrier in the U.S. without the iPhone. But it is finding ways of targeting those high-spending, loyal iPhone users out there anyway: it has launched some new functionality for its Bobsled internet calling service that means that service now works via Apple’s wireless operating system, iOS, as well as Android and a variety of desktop internet browsers.

Bobsled, a Skype-like service that gives T-Mobile a chance for gaining more customers by branching out into new areas like Internet calling, started out life back in April, as a calling app delivered via Facebook, allowing users to ring other Facebook contacts through Facebook itself. It quickly ran into trouble over “design issues” with Facebook: essentially the app looked too much like a Facebook product for Facebook’s liking. That was not surprising, given how ambitious Facebook is to expand the kinds of communications services (and revenues) it offers itself.

The app reinvented itself somewhat after that stumble: it still has a Facebook page, but to use the service, Bobsled now links out to its site, hosted outside of Facebook. Within that actual app, it still lets users call Facebook friends who are logged into Facebook’s chat service.

Today’s enhancements mean that service now also lets users place calls to mobile and landline numbers within the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, free of charge, and it works via the web app, as well as apps for Apple’s iOS and Android.

The service, powered by Vivox, is currently free to use as T-Mobile looks to pick up more users for the app, although you can imagine that at some point in the future T-Mobile will start charging for certain features as it looks for actual revenues rather than just more T-Mobile eyeballs.