Just last week, T-Mobile launched its new Bobsled brand of VoIP and data services. The service launched with a Facebook app that lets users make a phone call with their computer and social network’s built-in chat window. We tested it when it launched and found it easy to use. You install the VoIP app and launch a call by clicking on the phone icon in the chat window. The call will dial and connect. Surprisingly, call quality is decent for an internet calling solution. If the receiving party does not answer, then you can leave a message on the other user’s wall.
T-Mobile is pleased with the service, but Facebook apparently is not. The wireless carrier announced over the weekend it is voluntarily and temporarily suspending its Bobsled voice service for the popular social network. According to the statement below, the social networking giant is concerned about differentiating T-Mobile’s calling service from a Facebook created property. The statement below comes straight from the carrier’s Facebook page,
We are voluntarily and temporarily suspending the Bobsled service as we work with our partners at Facebook to address their design questions, including working to ensure that the Bobsled experience is clearly differentiated and is not mistaken for a Facebook created property. We apologize to our customers for this temporary disruption in service.
This minor setback does not mean the end of the Bobsled service or the voice calling app. This is merely a miscommunication where the T-Mobile voice app does not clearly identify itself as being a third-party service. A few UI changes and the service should up and running again soon. Besides, T-Mobile’s original press release about Bobsled hinted the carrier was interested in expanding the brand beyond the social network and into other online services that could benefit from a VoIP solution.