WhatsApp has reportedly starting rolling out the most anticipated voice calling feature for selected users, mainly in India.
With Voice Call, WhatsApp users would be able to place a voice call over internet to other WhatsApp users, exactly like Skype.
With more than 450 million customers, Whatsapp stands strong at offering you free calling facility to a good share of your contact list, better than what any other mobile messaging app can offer.
When to Expect to Experience Voice Calling
Reports suggest that this voice calling facility from WhatsApp is currently being offered to select users in India only, while there’s no official confirmation being made from Whatsapp itself on the matter.
But considering the track record of Whatsapp, new features don’t take weeks to be rolled-out for everyone. With Facebook on its back, you can’t assume that they will be testing their capacity before making the voice calling service available to everyone.
Best guess is, if everything goes fine, you would be able to see a voice call button along with your contacts in Whatsapp in next few days at most.
Those who got the Voice calling feature enabled had Whatsapp version v2.11.508 installed on their phones (you can check your version by going into settings->help->about).
Internet is already abuzz of screen-grabs and video grabs of voice calling feature of Whatsapp, check a screen-grab yourself below.
Impact on Telcos
Needless to say, Whatsapp, with voice calling, will become the major voice carrier globally. It already exchanges 50% more text messages on it network compared to all other cellular operators in the world combined.
We are yet to see how telcos will respond to the move, especially when they are partners with Whatsapp (in Pakistan) and offer unlimited bundles for Whatsapp usage on nominal charges.
A better way to look at this new feature is to understand the fact that telcos should start acting and behaving like ISPs and should stop worrying about web and mobile apps that are garbing their voice share.
In fact operators can provide quality internet services and charge premium rates for better quality; which in fact can result in more revenues per user per month than they used to earn with voice and SMS.
This transition in telcos’ business model is already happening in developed markets, and an anticipated track for developing markets like Pakistan.