WhatsApp Hits 100 Million Voice Calls Per Day; Telcos Under Distress?
When Whatsapp introduced voice calls for Android and iOS last year, critics were skeptical of the service considering the number of similar services in the market. Little did we know, voice calls would cross a milestone in just one year.
In a blog post on 23rd June, WhatsApp has announced that their voice calling feature has crossed 100 Million mark in one day, which means nearly 1,100 voice calls every second. WhatsApp messenger is a great way to connect with friends and family, and voice calls make the distance even lesser for you.
WhatsApp calls cost very less to you, and considering cross-platform functionality, it can be used to call people staying far away from you, especially across nations. Depending on the internet speed, the quality of the call varies but nevertheless it works seamless across smartphones. And over a period of time, the calls are only getting better.
How does it affect telcos?
When online messengers first hit the market and smartphones were relatively new, the telcos offered extremely cheap messaging packs to customers to lure them into paying for text messaging services.
Then came WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram and Skype and the world turned upside down. Messaging saw a slow death as users continued to use these online messaging services on their smartphones.
Many experts had predicted the death of texting by 2015 and their predictions were on point. If the trend continues, we can see a sharp decline in voice calls, unless the telcos offer some exciting and cheap services to their consumers. The only restriction to a WhatsApp call is that both the users have to be online at the same time.
Internet penetration might be low in India, but calls made on 2G, 3G and 4G are almost equally good in quality. Of course internet connection is required for calls, but the network connectivity in India is equally worse, so there is nothing extra a telco is providing you.
I have been a huge WhatsApp fan since day one and my texts are limited to maximum 10 every month. On the other hand, I have lost count of my WhatsApp messages. My WhatsApp calls have not increased steadily in the past quarter, but have definitely eaten up some quota of my daily voice calls.
If in just one year a messaging service can grow beyond imagination, imagine how telephony services will change by 2017. Can Airtel, Vodafone and Idea etc. do anything to curb this? Not unless they offer lucrative deals to consumers, something we do not expect to happen anytime soon.