Yesterday, WhatsApp officially introduced a voice calling feature through its app for Android devices. The feature has been around for some time now but hasn’t been available to the general public. WhatsApp was using the invite only strategy to test the feature and see if it will work. Well, it seems like the testing WhatsApp was doing was successful as the feature finally rolled out to all Android devices with other platforms coming soon. Below are a few things you need to know about this new feature.
It’s a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
Ever since its launch, WhatsApp has allowed users to send messages, photos and videos to their contacts. The new feature sort of follows this same strategy but now incorporates phone calls. Users will be able to make phone calls using mobile data or Wi-Fi. This is the same way other apps such as Viber and Skype operate. Therefore, you will be able to make phone calls over Wi-Fi even if your mobile operator’s network is down.
No extra cost
At the moment, WhatsApp isi not be charging users who use this service. The only cost users will incur will be data costs. I highly doubt that WhatsApp will introduce charges in future, they probably will just introduce plans and packages that will require users to pay. Currently, the feature only works on WhatsApp to WhatsApp calls and I believe WhatsApp will in the future allow you to make calls to users not on WhatsApp at an extra cost.
It’s Only on Android
The feature is currently available on Android. Those on iOS should expect it in the next few weeks. There is no news as to when the other platforms should expect this new feature. Even though it is available on Android, not all users have received the update. You can get the updated App from the company’s website directly if you wish to do so.
Disrupts the market
This new move my WhatsApp will definitely disrupt the market. It brings some serious competition to mobile phone operators who will lose some money in the end. Mobile operators have already lost to WhatsApp as it offers instant messaging over the internet that is cheaper than what the operators are offering. The feature will also affect the established players such as Skype and Viber who will lose their market share with time.
What do you think about this move by WhatsApp? Will you use its voice calling feature? Have you used it?