Last Year Facebook bought Whatsapp for 19 billion dollars. The announcement was followed with news that Whatsapp will be venturing into Voice calls, to rival other Messengers in this space like Viber, Line, WeChat and Blackberry’s BBM.
In its latest updated dubbed the Whatsapp 4.0, users can finally call via Whatsapp using the internet data, via Wi-Fi or 3G/4G. The feature was limited to Android users only and the news of iOS and Windows Phone users to soon get their apps enabled. With the update, Whatsapp revamped its service adding a new tab called calls that keeps a log of phone calls made.
To be able to make the calls one has to update their application. The user taps on the new call icon at the top of the screen. That begins the process of making a call to a person on the contacts list that has WhatsApp on his phone. Initially one had to invite one to the call a feature replaced by the tap as is with the phone dial pad.
Whatsapp has over 700 Million users worldwide making it the largest social messaging application. The launch into voice may spell doom for most Telcos who were already experiencing a drop in the usage of text messaging due to emergence of such applications.
The prominence of Whatsapp may present a challenge for Voice revenue for most Telcos including Kenya where almost half of Kenya’s mobile users use Whatsapp according to a poll conducted in 2015. The number may have risen since. I tried using the service this morning and so far so good especially with call clarity.