Facebook on Wednesday launched a new messenger app for Android phones, using which users, including those without a Facebook account, can send and receive messages to and from anyone with a phone number.
The social networking giant has partnered with all major carriers and device manufacturers for this service.
“Users can now sign up for a messenger account with just their name and phone number, so they can send messages to their phone contacts instantly,” Facebook said in a statement.
This is being launched on Messenger for Android, first in India, Australia, Indonesia, Venezuela and South Africa, with other countries shortly after, it added.
“The goal is to make the new messenger experience better by expanding its reach and giving its users the ability to connect with all of their phone contacts,” it said.
This is done by adding a significant new feature that allows people to send and receive messages, to and from anyone with a phone number, and not just those on Facebook, it added.
The Messenger is a stand-alone mobile application and is free to download. It will use customer’s existing data plan.
People who do not have the Messenger app on their phone will receive chats and messages sent to them wherever they log into Facebook.
While an update to Messenger for Android is available today, the Messenger accounts will become available over the next few weeks.
Facebook has over 50 million users in India.