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French Telecom Orange Enables Users To Call Using Facebook

French wireless carrier Orange is reportedly planning to maximize the use of Facebook by allowing its users to call friends without dialing their phone numbers, the telecom giant announced this week.

Orange is expected to launch the ‘Party Call’ in summer, making it the first telecommunication company to provide such service.

According to a report by Tech Crunch, the Party Call allows friends to call each other one-on-one or even in a group.

The new feature has been developed together by Orange and Facebook using the social network’s open API or application programming interface. It uses Facebook’s open social graph, enabling its users to invite friends for a phone chat and post their comments about each calls on their timeline.

Orange will not be using VoIPservices – which is being used by Skype – but rather its own Libon, allowing them to route calls to Orange’s voice network, according to the company’s vice president of strategic partnership Xavier Perret.

Facebook remains silent about the new service, though more details are expected to be released in the coming days.

Orange’s new feature might be a sign that Facebook is really planning to make a splash into the mobile business. Several people in the industry have already leaked information that the social network giant is working on a Facebook phone.

Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly downplayed the idea but rumors have been buzzing for months that Facebook Phone is in its development.

“That’s always been the wrong strategy for us,” he explained. “It’s a juicy thing to say we’re building a phone, which is why people want to write about it. But it’s so clearly the wrong strategy for us,” Zuckerberg said during an interview with Tech crunc reporter Michael Arrington.

“But if we did, we could get maybe 10 or 15 million people to use it,” Zuck answered. “The strategy we have is different from every other tech company that’s building their own hardware system, like Apple. We’re going in the opposite direction,” added the Facebook creator.

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