It’s official! WhatsApp has finally launched its much anticipated free voice calling service. This puts the world’s most popular messaging app with over 700 million users in direct competition with the likes of Skype, Line, Viber and Apple’s FaceTime.
The 2.12.5 version ofWhatsApp is available to all Android users. Simply upgrade your current version or download it directly from Google Play store if you are a new user. The new feature is expected to be released for iOS users soon.
The new user interface comes with three tabs – Calls, Chats, and Contacts. You can place a call to anyone in your contacts list tab or chat tab with the latest version of the app. If your friend doesn’t have the version supporting this feature, he or she will be notified. But, it wouldn’t be too big a problem for users as most of them would have upgraded it to use the free voice call service anyway. The Calls tab basically stores your call logs like incoming, outgoing and missed calls from Whatsapp contacts.
Once in the ‘call screen’, you will notice some additional features Whatsapp has added like speakerphone, mute mode and a call duration log.
Being a disruptive play in the messaging space previously, WhatsApp move to introduce free voice call will definitely put the telcos in Singapore on the edge of their seats. In the short term, telcos’ margins for mobile voice roaming could be impacted. In UAE, WhatsApp call service has been blocked by Telecommunication Regulations.
Early this year, WhatsApp also introduced a web-based version of the messaging service that works on Google Chrome browser. It will be interesting to see if Whatsapp will also extend the free call service to desktops.