WhatsApp to roll out voice calls this spring
In a move that has many wondering, "What took you so long?" WhatsApp announced Monday morning that voice calling would come to the popular messaging app during the spring. Facebook recently acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion.
With the move to voice, WhatsApp adds a service that is already available on many competing platforms including BBM, Line, and Viber—another messaging app recently snapped up by a major tech company.
Voice calls for WhatsApp are slated to land on Android and iOS first, followed by select Nokia and BlackBerry phones, reports TechCrunch.
WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum reiterated today at Mobile World Congress that ads would not come to the messaging platform. This despite the company's expansion into voice calls and a parent company (Facebook) that relies on advertising as its primary revenue source.
Instead of advertising revenue, WhatsApp's revenue comes from the $1 yearly subscription fee it charges longtime users of the service--the first year is free to new users. WhatsApp currently has 465 million monthly users and 330 million daily users, Koum said. In mid-December, WhatsApp's user total stood around 400 million monthly users.
Although mobile calling is new to WhatsApp, this will actually be the second voice-related feature to land on the service. In December, the company rolled out voice messages, which allows users to send and receive recorded messages.
A specific launch date for voice calls on WhatsApp was not announced.