You can now make free calls as well as send free messages with the latest update of WhatsApp. This makes the messaging app almost similar to Viber, as you can make the free calls to all your WhatsApp contacts through VoIP, so long as you both have an internet connection.
Making More Calls
It stands to reason that most users will start making more calls using WhatsApp, when compared to the other services. This is because the app brings in a high quality sound with HD quality. The connectivity features are also improved. You can also instantly switch over to GPRS during an ongoing call. Users of the app can make local calls as well as national and international calls. In addition to making free calls, you can also record the talk.
Must Have App
The latest update of WhatsApp allowing users to make free voice calls is a must have one for your smartphone. You can share audio and video files as usual and also stay connected with friends and family with free voice calling. When you record a conversation, you can also share it with others. You can find the tab for Calls on the top, near the Chats and the Contacts tabs.
Competing with Traditional Calls
The call feature is not free for Android devices and you need to pay for the feature. However, you can get free update of the app, the 4.0.0 version, quite soon. The feature is likely to be activated in March 2015 and is likely to result in a drop in traditional calling and revenues of traditional telecom companies. Smartphone users are most likely to use this feature on their WhatsApp. It makes sense to use the social networking apps for making free calls within the country and also when travelling outside your country, as the calls are free for local, national and international calling.
However, you need to depend on the Wi-Fi hotspots available in your hotel or restaurant, while travelling. The feature will encourage smartphone users to switch over to the social networking app for making calls, rather than recharging mobile credits. Though, there are many other apps available for smartphones offering free calling facilities, WhatsApp is expected to have the greatest success, as it is the most downloaded instant messaging app on smartphones.
Slow Rollout of Feature
The new feature is available in the version 2.11.508 for Android and you can get it from the company’s site on your Android phone running the 5.0.1 Lollipop version. However, you cannot activate the feature till you get a call from someone who has already activated this feature. This means that the feature is going to be an invite based one. There is no official announcement about the feature from WhatsApp, as it still seems to be in the testing mode, so the rollout is a very limited one. Users receiving the new feature will find a new icon near the Contacts tab. The app will also keep records of recent calls.
The feature might roll out on a global basis in different forms, with rumors stating that the feature will be available in the first quarter of 2015. Already, telecom operators have started regulating tariff measures on account of the new feature. The new feature has come out after another app, Hike, rolled out the free calling feature over 2G and 3G. However, WhatsApp is way ahead of its rivals, as far as user engagement is concerned. There are more than 700 million users on a monthly basis, who send more than 30 billion messages every day. With this new feature, the engagement number is sure to increase.