WhatsApp, the mobile messaging app recently acquired by Facebook, has said it will make available the voice calling technology to its customers in the first quarter of 2015.
Earlier this year in February, WhatsApp announced that it would roll out voice calling services to its customers in the second quarter of 2014 but that didn’t happen.
The service will let users make calls from the text-based messaging app like its rivals Viber and China’s WeChat, in efforts by the company to expand operations to more users with the target standing at 1 billion, a move that would rival telecom operators.
Founder and CEO of WhatsApp messenger, Jan Koum said the company was working through several technical issues related to the technology and users will have to wait until next year to get the services.
With many WhatsApp users in emerging markets still accessing the service through the 2G EDGE network, Koum said the firm is working to identify how the service will operate in situations with poor data coverage.
Another difficulty leading to the postponing of the voice service roll out is that WhatsApp does not have access to certain phone microphones make it hard to incorporate noise cancellations.
Facebook completed acquisition of the mobile messaging service earlier this month at a price of 22 Billion Dollars, with founder Koum remaining as chief executive of the company and taking up responsibility as a board member of Facebook.
Responding to a question on whether the new service would bring competition to Facebook’s Messenger app, Koum said the new voice call service will work differently as it does not allow for desktop calls.
Facebook’s Messenger App allows users to make phone calls to friends both locally and internationally for free over a Wi-Fi connection, and is available on iOS, Android and Windows phone users.