WhatsApp Calling Feature Now a Reality

Out of 5 people, at least 4 people use Whatsapp messenger to connect with colleagues, friends, relatives staying near or living overseas. One of the most popular messengers, Whatsapp messenger is extensively used by users who have a smartphone. A proprietary software, Whatsapp deploys the use of cross platform system to provide instant messaging services for smartphone. Through Whatsapp, one can text messages, send video and audio files, share pictures by making use of integrated mapping system. This client software is readily available on smartphones for Google, Apple operating software, Window phones, selected Nokia handsets, Android and Blackberry operating software.

Last year at a press conference in the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the feature of free voice messaging calls was introduced. Now Whatsapp calling has become a reality for Android users. But this feature cannot be completely replaced with regular calls because of several reasons. Firstly, Whatsapp calls are not obviously free unless the user is using somebody else’s Wi-Fi. Also in this case, both parties will have to spend data for one call and the caller ends up spending more data than the receiver. Both parties will also require Wi-Fi connection and Whatsapp on their individual handsets to be able to make or receive a call on Whatsapp. Secondly, Whatsapp call quality is not the same as making regular calls using the mobile.

It is assumed that for a minute of Whatsapp call costs about 0.15 MB to 0.20 MB of 3G data. While a 5 minute of Whatsapp call will cost around 1MB of 3G data. Also the call quality on 3G network is considerably better than on 2G network in which there is some amount of lag. In that aspect, Facebook messenger calls does a far decent job at that. Surprisingly for a minute of Whatsapp call on 2G network, it will cost the caller around 0.35MB which is higher than on 3G network. The standard data rates for those users who do not have mobile internet plans are 4p for 10KB of 3G data and 10p for 10KB of 2G. This roughly translates to about Re 1 per minute of Whatsapp call on 3G network and Rs. 2.50 per minute of Whatsapp call on 2G network.

With the present condition of 2G and 3G network in India, making international calls on-the-go is arduous, so this is where Whatsapp calling feature can greatly benefit the user. But again this feature is beneficial only if you are on Wi-Fi. Making STD and local calls using Whatsapp call feature is definitely not economical or beneficial. Even if Whatsapp works at improving their call quality, do you think that the local telecom service providers will not prove to be a hindrance? Sometime back when Airtel announced their VoIP packs in India, there was a massive protest on social media which compelled Airtel to rethink about their plans. So from a business perspective telecom service providers may not charge users for using Whatsapp, Skype or Viber, but they can surely dent the call quality so that subscribers are forced to make regular voice calls. Anyways using Whatsapp call feature cannot be used beyond 2 minutes in its current state, so telecos do not have much reason to worry about people not opting for regular voice calls.    

Sreejit M (have 79 posts in total)

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