Hike messenger has officially launched voice calling feature called ‘Hike Calls’. The introduction of this feature will allow hike users to call each other for free, over 2G, 3G and Wi-Fi and across the globe in over 200 countries. The introduction of hike calls has come in within a month of hike making it’s first acquisition - a free calling app – Zip Phone.
The free hike calling feature has been launched in beta on Android, which contributes to over 90% of hike’s user base. The iOS and Windows versions are slated to release by the end of this quarter.
hike says its calls are optimized to consume very little data, giving its users more calling minutes per MB of data. Given that a majority of the mobile-internet users of India are still experimenting with data and are not on a high-bandwidth connection, this optimization becomes critical for the Indian market.
Commenting on the launch of the calling feature, Kavin Bharti Mittal, Founder and CEO, hike messenger, said “While building free hike calls, we kept two things in mind. Firstly, India is a very cost sensitive market and as a result we’ve ensured that our service is extremely efficient on data. It means our users can pack in more minutes per MB when calling on hike. Secondly, we’ve made hike’s free calling service available globally in over 200+ countries. Hikers from India can now speak with their loved ones in India and across the world for free.”
Launched in December 2012, hike has over 35M users as in August, 2014: and has raised $86M from Tiger Global and BSB till date. The app also boasts of a fairly young user base with over 90% of its users being under the age of 25 and residing in India.
The chat application has localized features such as Hike Offline - lets you message your friends even when they’re offline, Hidden Mode - allows users to hide their private chats with a password, Regional Stickers - helps users express more in their own language, amongst many others.
Hike's new voice calling feature comes reports of WhatsApp planning to introduce similar feature this year. Hike now inches closer in competition with the likes of BBM, Viber, LINE, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat that have voice calling features.