WhatsApp plans to add Facebook Messenger-like voice calling features by next quarter

Whatsapp-voice-messagesJust about everyone in the tech industry is talking about the $19B Facebook/Whatsapp deal, so what better time to announce new features coming soon to the service. TechCrunch reports that WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum announced at Mobile World Congress today that the app will gain voice calling functionality sometime in Q2 of this year:

“We use the least amount of bandwidth and we use the hell out of it,” he said. “We will focus on simplicity.” Voice will come to Android and iOS first and then following on some Nokia and BlackBerry phones, he added.

The report adds that WhatsApp will also soon be working with some carrier partners:

While WhatsApp, as an OTT service, may appear like one of the companies that is attacking carriers, it is also working with them. The first partnership will be with e-plus to offer special tariffs to access the app, Koum said today. Interestingly, disrupting the current mobile communications economy has put WhatsApp right back into the kinds of services that built out that economy in the first place — in today’s case, voice.

Facebook of course already offers voice calling in some countries, but it’s unclear if the new WhatsApp feature will be integrated with the Facebook voice features. WhatsApp already offers users the ability to send short recorded voice messages as pictured above).

Despite the plans for new features, Koum reiterated that, “There are no planned changes and we will continue to do what we set out to do, even after the acquisition closes.” That, he said, includes “no marketing.”

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Comments

  1. S NB - 9 years ago

    Heard rumors that there will be a fee to use WhatsApp, but it is only a rumor. Hope wont that happen, we’ll all be forced to change to BBM.

    • junkrar - 9 years ago

      There already is a subscription fee. 99 cents a year. Unless you bought it when it was still a single 99 cent purchase, then you should have a lifetime subscription.

    • Untitled (@Untitled_007) - 9 years ago

      Eh… I bought it for 99cents two years ago… WhatsApp has never been free. Now, only the first year is free.

Author

Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & Electrek.co. He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.