Mobile messaging app WhatsApp has already stuck a dagger in many carriers’ SMS revenues and now it looks to repeat the same trick for their voice calling revenues as well. Barron’s writes that WhatsApp cofounder Jan Koum told Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week that WhatsApp plans to roll out a voice calling feature sometime in the second quarter of 2014, which would pit the app not only against mobile carriers for messaging services but also against IP-based calling services such as Skype, BBM and Line.
The timing of this announcement is interesting because it comes less than a week after Facebook revealed it was buying WhatsApp for a shocking $19 billion. While the general consensus has been that Facebook drastically overpaid for the hit global messaging app, it looks as though WhatsApp has been planning to add more value to its basic offering in the form of voice calling for some time now.
What makes WhatsApp’s addition of voice calling so significant is that it already has a gigantic user base that will now also use the app as its primary voice calling outlet. WhatsApp said at MWC that its total monthly user base now stands at 465 million and if it can find a way to monetize them more through voice services then it could make them into a potential cash cow for Facebook.