T-Mobile has a customer base of over thirty-three million users in the United States alone, and now the cellular giant intends to expand this number fifteen-fold, through the power of Facebook. The company intends to offer a new application, called Bobsled, in order to offer voice chat via Facebook Chat. The Bobsled service is usable by anyone, even those outside the United States, and allows them to make voice calls to friends who are on Facebook Chat. Voice messages can also be left on the 'Walls' of different Facebook users, and these can be made public or private.
Brad Duea, Senior Vice President at T-Mobile, had this to say about Bobsled, and the tremendous impact it could have on the usage of Facebook.
“Even though we are a mobile company, we don’t want to be limited to mobile. We want to be where customers are, and every day, half of the Internet logs into Facebook.”
Future intentions for Bobsled include adding video chat to its list of features, and even porting the application to other forms of media, such as Internet-enabled television sets and even gaming consoles, such as Microsoft's Xbox 360. Even further down the line, the company aims to potentially enable calls and text messages to both cellular devices and landline phones via Bobsled. According to Duea, the goal of the Bobsled application is to aid further evolution and development of the company, from a wireless carrier into a complete communications service. For many wireless providers, revenue is declining due to the increased number of alternatives available online, such as Skype. Less encouragingly for Bobsled, the pending merger between T-Mobile and AT&T may not give the application a very long lifespan. Further information about the change is available via The New York Times, and may be of interest to customers already with T-Mobile. Data charges for the service are not currently specified, though it is probable that they will be factored into the end product.