The newly-acquired WhatsApp plans to add voice calls to its service.
Here’s a link to an NBC News article about the new feature.
And here’s a quote:
The news that the most powerful of them was adding voice calls to its service will likely be seen as worrying for telecom operators globally, which got about $120 billion from text messaging last year, according to market researcher Ovum.
Here’s why I don’t think this move is worrying anybody.
Cell phone minutes — especially those on a smartphone — are things many haven’t had to keep track of since 2007. Ever since the modern-day smartphone came to be, voice communication has taken a hit and text/data communication has gone up.
Remember when we had a finite number of minutes, a finite number of text messages and unlimited data? Fast forward to present day, and we have unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and data caps.
Voice isn’t where the money’s at for carriers anymore. Texts aren’t raking in the bucks, either. It’s data.
The smarter our smartphones get, the more data we’ll use and the more carriers will be able to charge. WhatsApp voice calls will need data. And we’ll still need to pay for line access so our smartphones can be phones when necessary. So carriers will get their money regardless of how we use their networks, and maybe a little more.
The only thing that could possibly worry carriers is free, ubiquitous Wi-Fi, because it would allow consumers to bypass carriers entirely. Good luck getting that.