WhatsApp Planning to Offer Free Voice Call Within Months
Published on: 26th Feb 2014
By: Ian Mansfield
Messaging app WhatsApp is adding phone calls to its messaging services in a move that could directly target the mobile operator's core business models.
WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum said that the voice service will be free and should start to be rolled out to users within the next few months. The service will be offered for Android and iPhone users initially, with Windows Phone and BlackBerry apps to follow later.
The service, presumably a VoIP based one would pitch the company in direct competition with the likes of Microsoft's Skype service and Viber, as well as potentially eating into mobile network operator's own profits.
However, with mobile networks increasingly pushing mobile data services as their long term revenue growth, voice calls were already starting to look like a low-margin commodity business.
There is the long term potential though for Facebook to tie the voice call service into its own platform and become a telco in its own right.
WhatsApp's CEO also confirmed that the company, which has just been bought by Facebook for USD19 billion now has 465 million monthly users and 330 million daily users. The small exodus of users following the Facebook deal having barely dented the company at all.