Nice article which explains in simple terms why whatsapp calling is not a threat to GSM Voice calling…
WhatsApp has garnered a lot of attention recently for its ability to now let users make phone calls directly through the company’s iPhone app. On the face of it, WhatsApp is a compelling free voice-over-IP phone service. It might even make businesses wonder if they should consider using the service.
While there definitely are some use cases for WhatsApp, in most cases it is not a phone replacement, however. Here’s why.
The main use case for using WhatsApp to place phone calls is actually one that mostly benefits users outside the U.S. Where the service makes sense are situations where users rely on their smartphones for all of their calling, and where per-minute calling plans are costly. Instead of burning cell minutes, users can piggyback off their data plans and use WhatsApp instead.
This is not as useful in the U.S., because:
- many cellular plans now come well-endowed with cheap voice minutes. More liable to run out is the data portion of a cell package, which is where WhatsApp bites hardest—it consumes around 1 megabyte of data per minute of calling. Further, businesses or those with VoIP phone service will not need to use WhatsApp because VoIP typically comes with unlimited calling. That makes the WhatsApp calling feature a lot less useful.
- Sound quality is another limiting factor with WhatsApp. While technically calls should be as clear as those made from VoIP services and cell phone, since WhatsApp uses VoIP technology just like other VoIP services and many cell providers on the backend, in practice the quality is not always as high.
- That’s because unlike good dedicated VoIP phone offerings, there’s no quality of service guarantees. Packets of information can get slowed down at various points along the Internet; in the case of WhatsApp, delivering that familiar skipped word problem and overly-compressed sound quality when Internet connections are slow. VoIP services, on the other hand, have mostly resolved this issue by using better network connections on the backend, and by offering quality of service guarantees to prove it. A free service like WhatsApp doesn’t have the incentive to ensure that calls are as clear. You get what you pay for, basically.
- Third, there is the question of privacy. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, a company notorious for collecting and leveraging user data. It is unclear what call data WhatsApp stores, and how it is used. With that in mind, using WhatsApp for anything more than casual phone conversations is a big security question.
There is a use case for WhatsApp calling, but many businesses and consumers in the U.S. will find the service lacking compared with other VoIP solutions.
Source: Business VOIP Providers