WhatsApp, the world’s favorite messaging app are celebrating their latest milestone. According to them, WhatsApp users have really bought into the idea of making calls using the call feature in WhatsApp. They are making more that 100 million calls daily. That is a lot of calls for a feature that rolled out in all Android and iOS devices barely a year ago.
Let’s be clear about one thing though. The figures doesn’t mean 100 million WhatsApp users are making those calls. This could be a situation of one individual making a hundred million calls daily. That is impossible in practice though. But the theory is still sound. It is practicable. Or is it? Can one individual make a hundred million calls in a day? Nope. Assuming said individual can make a single call every second, they can only hit 86, 400 calls every 24 hours. Okay, the minimum number of individuals required to make that number of calls in 24 hours is 1157. That is, 1157 people need to be making a call every second in a 24-hour time frame to reach 100 million calls.
Okay, since we are on the mathematics track, let’s deal with the actual numbers as released by WhatsApp. A hundred million calls per day translates to about about 1100 calls per second or 66000 calls per minute. Or by the time I finish writing this in the next one hour, about three million, nine hundred and sixty thousand (3960000) calls would have being made by WhatsApp users around the world. But in the context of the about 1 billion people using WhatsApp around the world, this is just a fraction of the potential of WatsApp calls. This is the classic tip of the iceberg scenario.
However, if you compare the case of WhatsApp with an app like Skype, you’d really appreciate how far WhatsApp calls had come in a short time. Since Skype debuted over ten years ago, they have being able to get only 300 million users. At the time, Skype was touted as the next big thing as far as voice telephony is concerned. The VOIP technology was made popular by Skype. The hype over Skype was so huge everybody felt it was just a matter of time before we stopped making calls the traditional way, that is, by using a telephone. Over a decade later, nobody is talking about Skype anymore. New messaging apps with voice features are all over the place. The price of internet data, which held back the progress of VOIP has gone down considerably. But still, the good old GSM handset is still the primary mode of communication worldwide.
However, with the advent of WhatsApp calls, GSM calls could still be replaced by VOIP. Using VOIP to make calls is far more cheaper that call credit on GSM lines. For now, what is standing in the way of whole scale adoption of WhatsApp calls in developing countries like Nigeria is poor internet connection and penetration. Even in places with relatively strong network, the network strength fluctuates so badly the idea of VOIP calls is just a mirage.
Announcing the development in their blog post, this is what WhatsApp had to say:
For more than a year, people have used WhatsApp Calling to talk with friends and family around the world. It’s a great way to stay in touch, especially when connecting with people in other countries, or when messages alone won’t do. Today, more than 100 million voice calls are made every day on WhatsApp – that’s over 1,100 calls a second! We’re humbled that so many people have found this feature useful, and we’re committed to making it even better in the months to come.”
Fair enough. I hope ‘even better’ means the app would be tweaked so that voice calls can be smooth even with 2G network. Seriously, I just can’t wait to start using cheap internet data for making voice calls.
photo credit: livemint.com; Whatsapp; amdroidcentral.com; mobilesyrup.com