WhatsApp is beta testing free voice calling, will work on 3G and EDGE networks

WhatsApp quietly started testing a beta version of its free voice calling update in India about a week ago, not long after rival Hike announced the launch of the VoIP feature within its app. But it’d be difficult to use the function when your network connection is spotty. So it should come as good news to you that WhatsApp’s little addition works on 3G as well as EDGE.

First off, the free VoIP service is rolling out through an invite-based system, though it should be available to one and all once it’s ready for prime time. So you will only be able to access it if someone who already has it calls you through the messenger application. After you’ve picked up a call through WhatsApp, simply restarting might do the job, or you might need to reinstall the app.

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The new feature appears as a separate Calls tab beside Chats and Contacts. The phone receiver icon will be seen sprinkled across all the necessary places within WhatsApp once you get the voice calling option enabled. BGR India who has been testing it says that the function is seamless, while audio is crystal clear and even better than what you’d expect when on a regular call.

Also see: WhatsApp hesistant about free voice calling feature launch in India

The quality of WhatsApp’s VoIP service has even been likened to Apple’s FaceTime Audio call. Over a Wi-Fi network, you won’t need a mobile data plan to dial up people. Even though it won’t be the first app in India to offer voice calling over the Internet, it does have roughly 70 million monthly active users. That’s much more than what Viber, Hike or Skype can boast about.

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When WhatsApp officially releases free voice calling, telecom companies in India will undoubtedly be bristling. Get ready to see a lot of drama unfold as soon as the launch is kicked off.