WhatsApp has reportedly disabled the much talked about voice calling feature shortly after releasing it to select users and allowing them to pass on the feature to friends by making a WhatsApp call.
According to AndroidPolice, WhatsApp version 2.11.528 from the Play store and version 2.11.531 from the official website showed the caller icon on their app, which allowed users to make Internet calls and pass on the invitation. The call button for all contacts defaulted to the WhatsApp calling rather the phone dialer.
Users who already have this feature activated can make calls, but you can't activate the option for others as WhatsApp disabled the invitation feature
Later reports suggested that WhatsApp had shut down the invite feature – indicating that WhatsApp was conducting some public tests with the voice feature. Users, mostly, gave positive feedback on the call quality through WhatsApp.
WhatsApp, already a popular messaging application, is looking to beat the competition with the new and long awaited voice calling feature. The competition, which includes the likes of Viber, BBM and Hike, have already been offering the feature.
That said, the new feature is set to ring alarm bells in the Indian telecom industry which has been critical of OTT services. Leading telecom operators such as Vodafone and Airtel have already raised concerns over such service and sought a level playing field.
Airtel had gone one step further by announcing (later retracted) separate tariff plans for Internet calling – a move many thought was an attempt to breach net neutrality. Interestingly, the government is already looking into the matter. Also read: DoT panel to discuss net neutrality
Also read: WhatsApp now available on the desktop