Some months ago, WhatsApp launched the their calling feature. This allows WhatsApp users to call one another using a WiFi or mobile data, the only

Carriers might be threatening to block WhatsApp calls; check this out

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Some months ago, WhatsApp launched the their calling feature. This allows WhatsApp users to call one another using a WiFi or mobile data, the only cost being the use of data. The move was also adopted on almost all their existing platforms, and let’s not forget, WhatsApp is nearing 1 billion users worldwide. It appears network carriers are unhappy about this.

WhatsApp-Carriers-voice-calls

In a document translated by WMPoweruser, it seems mobile network operators have threatened/are threatening to block the WhatsApp calling feature. On the other hand, it also seems WhatsApp wants to detect this and warn it’s users. Below are some of the translated strings gotten from Windows Phone version of WhatsApp:

  • Couldn’t place call because your phone’s cellular network prevents WhatsApp calls. Try connecting to Wi-Fi and call again.
  • Couldn’t place call because your phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network that prevents WhatsApp calls. Connect to a different network or turn Wi-Fi off.
  • Your mobile carrier doesn’t support WhatsApp calls. Try switching to another mobile carrier or connect to Wi-Fi.
  • Your Wi-Fi network doesn’t support WhatsApp calls. Try switching to another Wi-Fi network or turn off Wi-Fi and use your mobile data connection.
  • {0}’s mobile carrier or Wi-Fi network doesn’t support WhatsApp calls.

This battle between WhatsApp and mobile network operators can only get uglier. With the heavy adoption rates, the IM service is replacing SMS, and the voice calling feature is cost effective (especially with international calls). Skype ended up partnering with mobile operators to charge users a fee. Let’s see how WhatsApp resolves theirs.

19 comments

  1. These network operators are bunk of jokers. They should grow up, just as the time.

  2. I don’t think the operators will fail. unless the VoIP operators set up their own data tranamission infrastructure.


    Network operators have to adapt. If they do not, they will lose completely. For example, if a network blocks these services, what’s to stop a subscriber from taking up a data plan with Swift, Smile or some other ISP and still make those WhatsApp calls on that? In which case, the mobile network loses both voice/SMS and Internet revenue. There.

    You build a house on my land, you have to pay rent, or leave the building, and go buy your own land. Its that simple..

    As long as the ISP providers cpoperate, the VoIP people have no choice but come and negotiate.

    Let’s see how this plays out eventually

  3. I don’t get what the hoopla from the network providers is all about,we purchased these data plans from them and should be able to make use of it however we see fit..

  4. Network providers won’t necessary fail. In third world countries like Nigeria where the infrastructures on ground and network strength is weak, call features of most IM are barely. And with this mtn call plan of 150-200 per week, mtn is raking enough in-house rate to discourage online calls.

  5. What’s there to block? Last time I tried, making calls within Nigeria, there’s still a lot of buffering. Speak then wait 20 seconds for the other person’s response.

  6. LOL, you took the words out of my mouth. I actually dont use this feature of whatsapp. It takes forever to have a decent conversation. I dont even answer such calls when I see them on my phone

    Nevertheless, that some of us find it hard calling with whatsapp doesn’t mean some people aren’t enjoying the feature.

  7. Sad. Won’t let a good thing sell. But as aptly aforementioned the feature is as good as none existent in these parts

  8. The call feature of WhatsApp is a feature that I’ve never bothered with…Intel two weeks ago when I used it to call a friend. We were surprised at how clear the line was, compared to our efforts last year where we kept being disconnected or couldn’t hear the other person.

    Mind you, last year we were both using mobile data, this year wifi. And I’ve decided it does have its uses, but the “problem” I foresee is that it makes data more competitive. Will it drive down prices, provide more tariff options, and which network will best support VoIP?

  9. Bet Airtel is leading on this front,they’ve been at the fore front of such calls in their Indian homeland..

  10. this is a flawed analogy, at least from the consumer PoV. it’s a basic part of net neutrality. which is the reason Netflix and co have been fighting US ISPs and part of the reason why Google Fibre is spreading so fast

  11. Ok now, let me rephrase. Someone called me with whatsapp very early today and first thing that came to my mind was to pick up so I can comment on it. For the first time in a long time, I picked a whatsapp call.

    To my surprise, call was clear, I could hear connection tone/beep maybe once in a while but I had a decent conversation with the caller. Now I dont know what will happen during the daytime but I hope quality would be same.

    I still dont see how this would be a threat to carriers though, especially in naija where data isn’t cheap. Maybe in countries with cheap data anyway.

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