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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 26 November, 2014

WhatsApp’s first move after its deal with Facebook? Adding voice calls

WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum says that the new feature will arrive as early as April.

WhatsApp founder Jan Koum speaking at MWC 2014.
WhatsApp founder Jan Koum speaking at MWC 2014.
Image: AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

SHORTLY AFTER BEING purchased by Facebook, WhatsApp will soon make its first change to its service by adding voice calls.

Speaking at the Mobile World Congress earlier today, WhatsApp’s founder and chief executive Jan Koum revealed that voice calling will be added in the second quarter of 2014, meaning it could arrive as early as April.

He said that the feature would “use the least amount of bandwidth, and we optimize the hell out of it.”

The feature in itself isn’t new – Viber, Skype, BlackBerry Messenger and many other messaging apps offers a similar feature – but adding this feature certainly won’t do any harm as it grows its userbase.

WhatsApp will bring the feature to iPhone and Android apps first, and plans to provide Windows Phone and Blackberry users with the feature further down the line.

Koum also revealed that the service now has 465 million users each month, and while Facebook is about sharing, he stressed that WhatsApp wanted to know “as little as possible” about its users , like a user’s name. He said that the app will continue to focus on simplicity and there are no plans to change the app.

The app was bought by Facebook for $16 billion, and $3 billion in restricted stock units, last week. The app went down on Saturday night after it experienced server issues, but resumed normal service shortly after it happened.

Read: Explainer: After WhatsApp, where do messaging apps go from here? >

Read: Happiness, GSOC, and WhatsApp: The week in numbers >

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