WhatsApp Calling has officially been launched this week. It’s an invite-only WhatsApp feature that allows users to make free phone calls.
The feature can be accessed if one has WhatsApp version 2.11.528 downloaded via the Google Play Store, or WhatsApp version 2.11.531 downloaded via the official WhatsApp website. After the latest version is installed, one has to ask a person with WhatsApp voice calling activated to make a call to their number, and that is the only way.
Previously, WhatsApp only allowed users to send text messages alongside sharing files.
The service is free, and not charged by WhatsApp. Much like other apps like Skype and Viber offering VoIP, WhatsApp voice calling uses a data connection to place a call, whether over Wi-Fi or mobile data. This data use however can be chargeable, based on your Internet plan.
For users of unlimited broadband Internet plans, the only worry is if the voice calling feature will work properly on lower speeds once the FUP limit is exhausted. Similarly, users of 2G and 3G data plans who exhaust their allocated data will have to after that point pay per KB used, which can go up to as high as Rs. 0.10 per 10KB on 2G and Rs. 0.04 per 10KB on 3G.
So, how do you access it?
WhatsApp is rolling out the change in a few phases, and only a select few users can use it.
It appears that the company is sending out invites for only a certain period of time, according to Android Police.
“A few users have emailed us reporting getting the function activated over the past hours, and I just got mine up and running after receiving a call from Clinton (who got it from another friend, and so on). So as you are suspecting, the ‘invite’ or, more accurately, the trigger that enables the feature has to be the reception of a call from someone who already has it,” the site says. ” (Or maybe this terminal trick still works, I’m not sure.) Once that happens, WhatsApp’s UI switches (either immediately or after you exit and reopen the app) from just showing chats, to a 3-tab layout with calls, chats, and contacts.”
Screenshots of the feature show that there’s a tab dedicated for outgoing, incoming, and missed calls.