WhatsApp had previously publicly stated its intentions of launching a free voice calling feature on their already predominantly free text messaging mobile application.
Having been acquired by Facebook in a deal that rose to around $21.8 billion in the closing stages, the CEO of this mega-rich mobile application announced that the plan will have to wait until somewhere in the first quarter of 2015.
Rumors regarding the launching of WhatsApp’s free voice calling feature were fueled by the images of this feature which were spotted on the developer’s website. However, the company has now confirmed that the more than 600 million users of the app, who had highly anticipated the app’s new voice calling feature, will have to wait until at least the first quarter of next year.
Technical Aspects of the Delay
According to CEO Jan Koum, the company has experienced some technical hitches that have delayed the process. Among these issues include, access to various types of microphones. This makes it quite troublesome in making appropriate cancellation of noise as well as bring along challenges associated with the proper working of the feature in areas with poor network coverage.
According to WhatsApp, there are many users in underdeveloped parts of the world still using 2G EDGE networks. It is for this reason that the company is still working to find solutions to such cases since these regions that include India and Brazil are among the emerging markets of the app.
A Billion Users for WhatsApp
Recent reports reveal that WhatsApp has amassed well more than 600 million users across the globe and according to the company’s CEO; they are to hit the 1 billion mark in the next few years. This can be attributed to the recent takeover by Facebook, which has added the company a massive financial muscle as well as the infrastructure required to compete with other giant voice calling apps like Skype and Viber.
Recently, Facebook incorporated the free voice calling feature to their Messenger app. This might look like a competitor to WhatsApp, yet the two have now become one entity. However, the CEO of WhatsApp has a different view to this scenario. He argues that while Facebook’s free voice calling feature is applicable when calling Facebook friends, WhatsApp’s version is entirely mobile based and it involves making calls to numbers of contacts saved on their mobile phones.
WhatsApp for Indian Users
India is one of the major emerging markets as defined by the company’s CEO. However, it remains to be an unknown matter, whether this feature will be available for users in India or not. More recently, Skype made public their intentions of withdrawing their calling services to phones and landlines within India, come November 10, 2014. This is due the regulations of the country that prohibit internet-based calls that originate and close within the country. With India earmarked as one of the major markets targeted by the app, this is truly an interesting scenario. Whether WhatsApp adds this feature to the Indian market or not remains a puzzle yet to be solved.