WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum has today revealed at Re/code’s Code/Mobile conference that the company has pushed the launch of its upcoming voice calling service to the first quarter of 2015, FierceWirelss is reporting. The Facebook owned company was previously planning to add voice calling capabilities to its highly popular cross-platform messaging service in the second quarter of 2014.
While speaking at the conference, Koum revealed that launching calling services is difficult to do well, noting that WhatsApp is already working through several technical issues related to the launch, including the fact that the app does not have access to certain phone microphones, which makes noise cancellation more difficult. He also added that the company is trying to work through how the service would operate in situations where data coverage is poor, highlighting that many WhatsApp users in emerging markets are still using 2G EDGE coverage.
“Koum said the company has historically been focused on growth and still aspires to run on every smartphone in the world. Most new users are coming from markets like Brazil and India, he said, but he acknowledged that there are still markets where WhatsApp isn’t dominant. However, Koum said WhatsApp still wants to cross 1 billion active users within the next several years. With Facebook’s financial support and infrastructure, he said, the company is now able to focus squarely on growth.”
Koum also said that WhatsApp will not compete “that much” with Facebook’s own Messenger app, which lets users make free voice calls over Wi-Fi both domestically and internationally.