FacebookFacebook is attempting to play a strong card against telcos with the release of a new instant messaging app that will also send free SMS.

The world’s largest social media company released Facebook Messenger for iPhone and Android phones earlier this week in the US, with Australia to soon follow.

The application allows for instant free messages between friends and groups with several options for when you are notified.

But Telstra said it doesn’t expect a move away from SMS despite the availability of free alternatives.

"Telstra has seen continued SMS growth in the face of mobile social networking" said a spokeswoman speaking to News.

The app will also be in competition with Blackberry’s instant messaging service, which sends encrypted messages, preventing them from being read by any one other than the sending and receiver.

Blackberry’s maker, Research in Motion went under the microscope recently when it was found that rioters in the UK were using the service to coordinate acts of violence and destruction.

A similar card will also be played by Apple next month when it releases its iMessenger app with the iOS 5 software update.

It will provide iPhone and iPad users the ability to exchange SMS style messages without using a mobile carrier.

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