#MobileWorldCongress – WhatsApp to Introduce Voice Calling
WhatsApp, the hot mobile messaging app of the moment, plans to offer free voice calling later this year.
Jan Koum, the WhatsApp cofounder and CEO, announced the news during a presentation at Mobile World Congress. Koum said the Internet calling feature would roll out in the second quarter, starting with Android and iOS.
The announcement marked Koum’s first public appearance since Facebook announced last week that it plans to acquire WhatsApp for $16 billion. Assuming the deal goes through, Koum will reportedly be worth more than $6 billion.
WhatsApp launched in 2009 and took off in a number of countries abroad as a text message replacement tool. The decision to add voice calling puts WhatsApp in league with other messaging services like Viber, Kik and Skype.
During the talk, Koum also revealed that WhatsApp now has 465 million users, up from around 450 million users just last week. At this pace, WhatsApp will likely hit one billion users much faster than Facebook did.