WeChat has launched a new feature on its app called WeChat Out that allows users make calls to mobile and landline numbers around the world at cheaper rates. WeChat Out was launched on New Year’s Eve in the United States, Hong Kong and India for now, with more countries to be added in the coming months.
The first thing we thought was here comes Skype competition!
The first users of the feature were credited with $1 worth of calling time as a gift, but others who are only updating their WeChat app now can choose to buy calling credit from $1 to $15 using their credit card, as seen on Skype to purchase Skype Credit (although it only gives you 2 options, either 10 or 25 euros). The calling rates are listed in the FAQ menu within the app.
To access the feature users have to tap on the + sign at the top right corner of you app screen and select WeChat Out from the drop menu. Dial the number you want to call in the dial pad that pops up. WeChat can be downloaded here.
Who is this great for? Users who are far from family and friends, or users who need to make a lot of cheaply-priced calls for various purposes. We’ll see just how much cheaper WeChat Out will be than ordinary voice calls when rolled out to Zambia too.
VoIP services are fast growing in regions where data services are much cheaper and where the applications have the most users. In most emerging economies, however, the low internet penetration is a barrier to these services being utilised to the max so they may take a longer time for adaptation or application.
We see this as an effort by WeChat to expand beyond Asia where it is highly used and open up further to the rest of the world, rivalling major social messengers like Skype, WhatsApp and Viber.
Image Sources: WeChat