WhatsApp to launch calling service in Q2 this year

24 Feb 2014

Only a matter of days after their US$16bn acquisition by Facebook, the first major change to the messaging service will come with the addition of a voice communication option due to come into operation in Q2 this year.

The announcement was made by WhatsApp’s CEO Jan Koum at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) currently being held in Barcelona.

The company has previously delved into the world of voice communication when it rolled out its service which would allow users to send short voice clips back and forth between one another, but now they company want to allow people to have actual conversations.

This move is also putting it in competition with other messaging and voice communications  apps like Viber, BBM and Line.

Founded today (24 February) in 2009, the company was recently purchased by Facebook in one of the largest tech acquisitions in history as Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, aims to avail of its estimated 450m active monthly users and incorporate it into his ‘ten-year plan’ to connect more of the planet through Facebook’s services to other markets like Asia where they have their own messaging services like Kakaotalk.

Koum has reiterated that the general layout and fundamentals of the messaging app will remain exactly the same and eased customers’ fears that Facebook has no intentions of doing a huge overhaul of the app or including advertising, something Koum and his other co-founder Brian Acton have state they are strongly against.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic