Have you tried it yet, calling people using WhatsApp or Facebook? Making phone calls with an app on your smartphone is becoming easier and easier. Is this our cue to switch to data-only plans, or would it be better to hold on to the phone calls for a little longer?
Making calls using WhatsApp was already possible on Android phones and is now possible on iPhones too. Facebook wants a slice of the pie too: their messenger app also lets you call people. Facebook and WhatsApp aren’t the only ones offering this service either, since Skype and Viber were already doing so before them.
The fact that phone calls via an app have never really caught on so far is due to the enormous number of different apps, says internet expert Danny Mekić.
“There are tons of apps that let you call people. And they all want to become the market leader”, he says. And the person you want to call needs to have the same app on their phone.
Mekić believes phone calls by app are the future, but it does bring along some complications. You’ll need to watch your data usage, for example: “If you have a 4 or 5 gigabyte data allowance, you’ll probably be fine. But most people don’t have that.”
“With a 500 MB data allowance, you can easily be on the phone for a few hundred minutes. But if you’re going to use that same allowance to browse Facebook and watch videos on YouTube, it adds up rapidly.” The solution is simple: if you call while on a wifi network – at home, at work, on the train – then it’s free.
Another problem is the sound quality, which depends on your data connection. “If you’re calling using the mobile data network and you’re on a train for example, you’re moving between mobile phone masts all the time. That doesn’t do the quality of your connection much good.” Here too the solution is to use wifi: a fast connection means the quality of your call will be better.