The WhatsApp update was declared to be in process by CEO Jan Koum in February.
Although the launch was scheduled to be in the second half of the year, the VoIP calling feature is yet to be seen materializing as an upgrade.
Enabling the VoIP calling feature would put WhatsApp at par with Viber and Skype, which are two of the biggest names in terms of messaging and calling other users.
However, WhatsApp has a higher ground of advantage as compared to its rivals, as it utilizes less bandwidth and is much simpler to use. Consequently, the delay and lags during voice calls are eliminated completely.
A few leaks depicted screenshots of the upcoming update, which has arrangements for the call to be initiated from chat. The calling however, is expected not to interfere with instant messaging.
VoIP calls are successfully initiated only after a user has granted permission to the application for making the call. The leaks also imply the presence of a mute, speakerphone and a call button. The VoIP call is possible both by Wi-Fi and 3G connections.
The cost incurred for making a call however, has not been disclosed yet. Koum’s announcement of the upgrade had clearly specified that the plans on including advertisements have not been thought about yet. Koum’s take on how to generate revenue is unclear up to this moment, as he wanted to keep the app independent to be successful.
In lieu of this, there might be two choices What’sApp would have – either to go with the flow and continue using this feature on the messaging app, which is free for the first year and then asks for registration fees of $0.99 per year. This again sets us thinking how Whats’App may be profiting with such low charges, but we users definitely like the idea.
Considering the second option, Whats App could echo the way Viber and Skype work, by offering free calls between users within the network, but charge the customers for calling people outside their network. The charges for the app have not been disclosed yet. But considering the competition, the prices may be lower than other VoIP providers.
Providing free calls on international basis would be an expensive affair and WhatsApp might want to include ads to add to the inflow of revenue, an idea despised by users in general.