MWC2014: Whatsapp to launch voice in Q2

Joseph Waring
25 Feb 2014

WhatsappCEO Jan Koum announced during his presentation yesterday that the company will launch voice services in Q2, staring with Android and iOS versions, followed by Windows Phone and BlackBerry.

He said: “We think we have the best voice product out there. We use the least amount of bandwidth and we optimize the hell out of it. The same values that made our messaging the leading messaging platform in the world will be applied to voice. We’ll focus on simplicity and make sure the same gold standard for messaging is applied to voice.”

With its planned acquisition by Facebook on everyone’s mind, he promised not to change its philosophy of offering products that are simple to use and connect people affordably.

Koum was speaking at a session on “Mobile disrupted: challenging the state of play”.

Tele2 CEO Mats Granryd told the audience in Barcelona that it is a disrupter just as Kakao and Whatsapp are. “We are all disruptors – there are plenty of disruptors out there – it’s a sign of the maturity of the market.”

He noted that price will always be important for customers, which is why the company is “brutal on pricing.” One of the firm’s marketing lines is “born to be cheap.”

Tele2, which has operations in ten countries, only charges for data. More than 50% of its customers are post-paid or on buckets plans.

He said that in the world of data, the quality aspect is more important than in the voice-driven world. “We have to be mindful of user behavior patterns. For example, when networks become overloaded during events like concerts.” He said telcos need to be better prepared.

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