WhatsApp's new voice calling feature is touted as free, but is anything really free these days?
A new test conducted by the folks over at AndroidPit reveals that using WhatsApp to make voice calls can actually cost users more than what it costs them to make regular calls, that is, if users are making the WhatsApp calls on cellular data alone. If the calls are made over a Wi-Fi connection, one can expect to pay nothing for the calls. However, for people who travel a lot and don't normally have a Wi-Fi network nearby, WhatsApp calls can cost quite a small fortune.
Specifically, an entire minute of a call made on WhatsApp costs users nearly 800 KB worth of high-speed 4G LTE. Wireless carriers offer different plans, so users will have to make the individual computations themselves.
However, as per AndroidPit's testing, they found out that a single minute of WhatsApp calls over LTE can rack up to a whopping 1.3 MB of data, according to third-party app Data Monitor, which tracks how much data the user is eating up. Other calls consumed much less at only 800 KB, which is still a lot of data to be consumed in one minute. Using the Android system's own data counter, WhatsApp calls use less data with an average of 600 KB per minute, a figure still too big for a minute's use of LTE.
Taking the average of these figures taken from Data Monitor and the Android system, AndroidPit came up with 780 KB for a minute of voice calls. At this rate, a user on a 1 GB plan will have a total of 1,282 minutes or just over 21 hours of WhatsApp calls each month. That is just more than 42 minutes of calls every day. Compare that with the unlimited talk that is being offered by most wireless carriers and many people will see just how much they are losing out if they use WhatsApp to make calls instead of using the regular cellular network.
Also worth considering is the fact that data charges will apply even for calls the user receives. Normally, regular voice calls made by someone else are free.
Keep in mind that these figures are specific only to WhatsApp calls made over a data connection. Users who make their calls via Wi-Fi are cost-free, and those who make international calls via WhatsApp will actually save more if they make calls over data than through the regular cellular connection.
Photo: Jan Persiel | Flickr