Can you just voice call on WhatsApp?

WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging app, used by over 2 billion people worldwide. Back in 2014, WhatsApp introduced a voice calling feature that allows users to make free calls over the internet to other WhatsApp users. This voice calling capability has become an essential way for people to communicate and stay connected with friends and family across long distances.

This article provides an overview of how voice calling works on WhatsApp. We will explore the availability of voice calls, call quality, group calling abilities, calling over WiFi, data usage, security, and other key features. The main goal is to understand the capabilities and limitations of making voice calls directly within the WhatsApp app.

Voice Calling Basics

WhatsApp uses Voice over IP (VoIP) technology to enable voice calls between users. When you make a WhatsApp call, your voice is transmitted as data packets across the internet to the recipient’s device. This allows you to make calls over WiFi or mobile data, without needing to use your cellular minutes.

To make WhatsApp calls, both you and the recipient must have an active internet connection and the latest version of WhatsApp installed. There is no need to enter phone numbers or PINs to connect the call like with traditional calling. Just tap the call icon in an existing chat and the app handles the call setup instantly.

Compared to regular cell phone calls that use a cellular network, WhatsApp calls utilize data instead. The calls are routed over the internet, which often provides better call quality, especially for international calls. WhatsApp calls also avoid cellular long distance charges. However, call quality can vary depending on the strength of each user’s internet connection.

Voice Calling Availability

WhatsApp voice calling is available for both iOS and Android devices. To make voice calls on WhatsApp, users simply need to open an individual chat and tap the voice call icon at the top right.

However, WhatsApp voice calling is restricted or banned in some countries due to local regulations. According to WhatsApp’s FAQ, voice calling is not available in certain countries including China, Syria, and Qatar.

For users in countries where WhatsApp voice calling is banned, there are some workarounds to access the feature. This includes using a VPN to mask your location, or downloading WhatsApp from a third-party app store that has modified versions without restrictions. However, these workarounds do violate WhatsApp’s terms of service.

Call Quality

WhatsApp utilizes Voice over IP (VoIP) technology for its voice calls, which allows calls to be made over the internet rather than a cellular network. This can lead to some differences in call quality compared to regular phone calls.

In terms of sound quality, WhatsApp calls can sound more compressed and have less clarity than regular calls according to some users [1]. However, call quality is highly dependent on internet speed and connection strength. With a stable high-speed connection, WhatsApp calls can achieve HD voice quality.

The reliability of WhatsApp calls versus regular calls also depends on internet connectivity. WhatsApp calls rely entirely on your data or WiFi network, so any fluctuations or interruptions can degrade call quality or cause drops. Regular calls utilize the robust cellular network and are less prone to disruptions. Enabling WhatsApp’s WiFi calling feature can help improve reliability.

Other factors impacting WhatsApp call quality include the distance between callers, the devices used, settings like reducing data usage, and network congestion. Overall call quality can vary significantly based on these variables.

Group Calls

One of the main features of WhatsApp is the ability to make group voice calls with multiple participants. According to WhatsApp’s FAQ, group calls can have up to 32 participants at once. To start a group call from an existing group chat, simply tap the “Calls” tab and then tap “Call” to initiate the call.

Group calls have several useful features, such as the ability to name the call for easy identification. Participants can also mute themselves or others if background noise becomes an issue. The interface shows each participant’s name, so you can see who is currently active on the call. There is also a lock icon to prevent unwanted participants from joining.

Overall, the group calling functionality makes it easy to connect multiple people together for meetings, virtual hangouts, or just staying in touch with friends and family. With up to 32 participants possible, WhatsApp group calls accommodate even larger gatherings.

Voice Calling Over WiFi

One of the key features of WhatsApp voice calling is the ability to make calls over WiFi instead of your cellular network. This offers several benefits:

Firstly, it allows users to make calls even in areas with poor cellular reception, as long as they have access to a stable WiFi connection. This is especially useful when traveling abroad or in remote locations according to this Reddit discussion.

Secondly, making calls over WiFi significantly reduces mobile data usage. WhatsApp encrypts calls end-to-end, but uses very little data thanks to advanced compression algorithms. According to this article, a WhatsApp call uses roughly 0.5MB per minute on WiFi versus 8-12MB per minute on cellular.

Finally, calls made over WiFi often have improved voice quality and reliability compared to standard cellular calls. This is because WiFi networks typically offer lower latency and faster speeds than crowded mobile networks.

Voice Calling Data Usage

WhatsApp voice calls require mobile data or WiFi to work. According to various sources, WhatsApp calls generally use 500kb – 750kb of data per minute. So a 30-minute call would use around 15-22MB of data.

This is significantly less data than regular cellular calls. For example, AT&T estimates cellular calls use around 6MB of data for just 5 minutes of talk time. So WhatsApp can save you a lot of money on data usage compared to your carrier minutes.

There are a few tips to minimize data consumption on WhatsApp calls:

  • Use WhatsApp on WiFi whenever possible to avoid cellular data entirely. Calls over WiFi don’t count against your mobile data.
  • Enable low data usage mode in WhatsApp’s settings. This can reduce data usage by up to 80%.
  • Avoid video calls which use much more data than voice calls.
  • Limit call length or use WhatsApp audio messages which use even less data.

Sources:

https://www.paynow.co.zw/blog/how-much-data-does-whatsapp-call-use/

https://www.quora.com/How-much-data-does-a-minute-of-a-WhatsApp-call-consume

Security

WhatsApp voice calls are secured with end-to-end encryption, which is enabled by default. This means the calls are secured with locks, and only the sender and recipient can access the content of the call. Not even WhatsApp can listen to the calls as they are fully encrypted (Meta Engineering, 2023).

The end-to-end encryption provides more security protection compared to regular phone calls, which can be intercepted more easily. WhatsApp’s encryption ensures your conversations stay between you and the person you’re communicating with. It provides a level of privacy and security that regular phone calls lack (Salt Communications, 2022).

WhatsApp also has taken measures to prevent spyware attacks on calls. Features like detecting an incoming call from an unknown source and automatically blocking it enhance call privacy. Overall, WhatsApp voice calls offer users more privacy protections and security than traditional calling methods.

Other Features

WhatsApp provides several other useful features related to voice calling beyond just making and receiving calls. One handy feature is the ability to record calls which can be enabled through WhatsApp’s settings. As noted on the WhatsApp FAQ page, if you record a call, everyone on the call will be notified [1].

WhatsApp also provides notifications if you miss a voice call. The app will display a missed call notification so you know if someone tried to reach you [2]. This is similar to voicemail services on traditional phone networks.

Additionally, WhatsApp has integrated with the native phone dialer on smartphones. This means you can initiate a WhatsApp voice call directly from the phone’s call interface without needing to open the WhatsApp app [2]. Overall, WhatsApp provides a full-featured voice calling system that goes beyond basic calling capabilities.

Conclusion

In summary, yes you can make voice calls directly on WhatsApp.

The main benefits of voice calling on WhatsApp are that it’s free, works well internationally, supports group calling, and operates over WiFi. The main limitations are potential voice quality issues and that it uses your data plan allowance.

WhatsApp is likely to continue improving voice call quality and performance in the future. We may see new features like call recording, video calling, and enhanced group calling added over time. But the core ability to make free WhatsApp voice calls, even internationally, is already there and works well for most users.

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