Popular instant messaging platform Hike Messenger has added the ability to conduct a conference call with up to 100 people in a group. The service is free and only available for Android users in the initial roll-out.
Hike is hoping to attract families and students with this new feature. To start a call, one member can contact any other member of the group and the others are free to join in. However, all participants need to be connected to either 4G or high-speed Wi-Fi networks for the chat to be supported.
In a blog post, Hike CEO Kavin Mittal detailed the idea behind the initiative. He thinks the current way of starting conference calls is cumbersome and inconvenient. According to him, group calling on Hike functions as a real-time method to reach decisions quickly and is a less chaotic way to conduct a discussion.
Hike had over 35 million users as of last year, a far cry from the 900 million milestone WhatsApp, one of its main competitors, reached in August 2015. The former seems to be focusing on appealing to Indian consumers first and foremost, having rolled out over 5000 stickers in 30 regional languages in a bid to increase its popularity among the masses.
WhatsApp notably doesn’t have a group calling service. It’s still a rarely seen feature in most messaging applications. Hike is not the first to allow so many users in one call though, since Line earlier this year had launched an app called Popcorn Buzz to let people have conference calls with up to 200 people.
Hike Messenger version 4.0.4 is live now and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. Windows Phone and iOS users will receive the update before the year is out.