Good news for the hundreds of millions of WhatsApp Messenger users, as the company's CEO Jan Koum has just confirmed that the application will offer voice calling services beginning Q2 2014.
With more than 465 million users, WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging services for mobile devices. The company has recently been acquired by Facebook for no less than $19 billion (€13.8 billion), which is the largest deal between two social media companies.
According to Koum, WhatsApp Messenger will receive updates on both Android and iOS platforms, which will add voice services.
According to TechCrunch, he has also confirmed that “some Nokia and BlackBerry” phones will be getting voice services a bit later, as well: “We use the least amount of bandwidth and we use the hell out of it. We will focus on simplicity.”
The move to voice is meant to increase the number of WhatsApp users in emerging markets, as well as developed regions where free calling features are popular.
Even though WhatsApp's move may look like a war declaration for carriers, Koum has explained that his company will in fact work with network operators to provide customers easier access to WhatsApp Messenger features.
According to him, WhatApp's first partnership will be with e-plus and will offer customers special tariffs to access the application on Android and iOS devices.
WhatsApp's voice services will allow the company to tackle its competitors including BBM, LINE and KakaoTalk, which already offer these type of services.
During the company's press conference at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014, Koum also reiterated the fact that WhatsApp would continue to offer the best messaging services without any hidden costs, even after Facebook's acquisition.
“There are no planned changes and we will continue to do what we set out to do, even after the acquisition closes. Still no marketing,” said Koum.