T-Mobile announced today a new service called Bobsled that will bring a host of services that integrate traditional telecommunications with internet-based voice and data services. The first product to launch under Bobsled “brings your voice to Facebook.” The service will allow you to make free calls to your friends on Facebook via a downloaded app. The service is powered by Vivox, a VoIP company that has been offering voice chat in video games for Sony as well as within Facebook.
Bobsled will initially start off as an integrated service within Facebook and is not exclusive to T-Mobile customers. After you download and install the app, a Bobsled icon will appear on your Facebook chat box from where you can click to call any Facebook friend. The service will work even if the call recipient does not have the app installed. They will first get a chat message alerting them of a call request with a link. They click the link to get connected. Voicemails can also be left for a friend either as a private message or as a public wall post.
T-Mobile says that they plan to add the service to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, including support for video chats and placing VoIP calls to mobile and landline numbers. The service will also operate independently, meaning it will work regardless of the carrier. However, no specific timelines have been given.
The Bobsled brand also currently powers Group Text and Cloud Text apps on the new T-Mobile Sidekick 4G. T-Mobile hopes to position itself as a provider of cloud-based communications services with this new brand.
T-Mobile Launches Bobsled by T-Mobile — A New Communications Brand to Bridge the Traditional Telco and IP Worlds
The brand’s Facebook calling application will provide free, one-touch calling within Facebook to more than 500 million consumers worldwide
BELLEVUE, Wash. — April 19, 2011 —T-Mobile today introduced Bobsled™ by T-Mobile, a new brand aimed at bridging traditional telecommunications and Internet-based voice and data services to enable people to stay connected in a simple and cost-effective way. The first product available under the new Bobsled by T-Mobile brand is the Bobsled application for Facebook, which provides Facebook’s more than 500 million users worldwide with free, one-touch calling to their Facebook friends from a personal computer and through the social platform’s chat window.
In addition to making live voice calls across the globe, users will also be able to send voice messages to their friends either privately or via their “walls.” The Bobsled application for Facebook is available today as a free download for all Facebook users and is not exclusive to T-Mobile customers. This captures a unique opportunity for the brand, as a recent survey found that 88 percent of Facebook users surveyed want voice chat capabilities within the site.1
“T-Mobile’s focus is to innovate to provide simple and affordable communications for customers, enabling people to stay connected wherever they are,” said Brad Duea, senior vice president, T-Mobile USA. “Bobsled by T-Mobile takes our communications services innovation to a whole new dimension, bringing simple and cost-effective connections to more than half a billion people overnight, allowing people on Facebook to more easily connect and giving voice to social networking. Our new Bobsled brand will evolve in the coming months to provide even more ways for people to connect, no matter what platform, device or mobile provider they are using.”
Once downloaded, customers can use the Bobsled application for Facebook to place voice calls to their friends through Facebook Chat with just one click. This is one of the first voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) applications seamlessly integrated into Facebook Chat, which makes it quick and simple to place an impromptu call to a Facebook friend. The application eliminates the need for dialing — users simply click on a friend’s name to start the conversation. There’s also no need to remember screen names or to input numbers. With the new application, customers also can leave a voice message for friends when they’re not available. Anyone on Facebook can receive a call; no application download is required to receive a call via the Bobsled application for Facebook.
As the way people communicate transcends networks and devices, Bobsled by T-Mobile positions T-Mobile as a provider of cloud-based communications services over the Internet. In addition to providing Facebook users with one-touch calling, Bobsled by T-Mobile also powers the Group Text™ and Cloud Text™ applications on the new T-Mobile® Sidekick® 4G™. Bobsled Group Text lets customers create, name, manage and participate in reply-all group text conversations, enabling them to lead their network in conversation and social planning. Bobsled Cloud Text provides the option to text with friends or groups across platforms, whether from the comfort of their PC’s large screen and keyboard, or from their new Sidekick 4G.
In the near future, T-Mobile plans to evolve Bobsled by T-Mobile to include video chat, to create the ability to place VoIP calls to mobile and landline U.S. numbers and to offer applications on smartphones and tablets across various mobile platforms, regardless of the carrier that powers such devices.
The Facebook application for Bobsled by T-Mobile is powered by Vivox, Inc., the No. 1 integrated voice platform for the Social Web, offering high quality, best-in-class voice capabilities for clear and crisp calls. More information about Vivox is available at http://www.vivox.com.
More information on Bobsled by T-Mobile is available at http://www.letsbobsled.com
The Bobsled application for Facebook is available for download at http://apps.facebook.com/bobsledbytmo
1 According to an internet survey conducted by Vivox and T-Mobile in March 2011.
About T-Mobile USA, Inc.
Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile USA, Inc. is the U.S. wireless operation of Deutsche Telekom AG. By the end of the fourth quarter of 2010, approximately 130 million mobile customers were served by the mobile communication segments of the Deutsche Telekom group — 33.7 million by T-Mobile USA — all via GSM and UMTS, the world’s most widely-used digital wireless standards. Today, T-Mobile operates America’s largest 4G network, and is delivering a compelling 4G experience across a broad lineup of leading devices in more places than competing 4G services. T-Mobile USA’s innovative wireless products and services empower and enable people to stay connected and productive while mobile. Multiple independent research studies continue to rank T-Mobile USA as a leader in customer care and customer satisfaction. For more information, please visit http://www.T-Mobile.com. T-Mobile is a federally registered trademark of Deutsche Telekom AG. For further information on Deutsche Telekom, please visit www.telekom.de/investor-relations.
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