How much it costs to call on WhatsApp

WhatsApp calling is a popular alternative to conventional voice calling, especially if both users are connected to a home or work Wi-Fi network and are not using mobile data.

However, if the prices are cheap enough, using mobile data for a WhatsApp call is of little concern to users.

There are a variety of factors which could influence the amount of data used by a WhatsApp voice call, including connection type, quality, and signal strength.

With the recent launch of Rain Mobile and its cheaper mobile data, we have detailed how much a WhatsApp call costs on South Africa’s major mobile networks.

Data usage test

The first step was to use the MyDataManager app, installed on a Samsung Galaxy S9, to monitor our data usage for the duration of the test.

The app monitored the data used by WhatsApp while we disabled Wi-Fi and connected to a 4G mobile network to conduct a voice call.

Both the caller and recipient were connected using a mobile data connection, and the call was active for exactly two minutes.

Speaking was conducted by both parties throughout the call to mirror a standard calling experience, and the data for the test period was recorded.

Both the calling and receiving devices were connected to a 4G network, allowing for maximum throughput on the voice call.

The test showed that a two-minute WhatsApp call uses 800KB of mobile data, which equates to 400KB per minute.

It is important to note that both the caller and receiver incur data charges when making voice calls using WhatsApp.

Data costs

We then took the amount of data used by the WhatsApp call and linked it to the price of a 1GB data bundle from MTN, Telkom, Vodacom, and Cell C.

Rain was also tested, but as it does not sell data bundles, its flat rate of R50 per GB was used.

This data was used to calculate the cost-per-minute of WhatsApp calling on each network.

The price of a WhatsApp call using 1GB of data on each mobile network is detailed below.

Operator 1GB Bundle Price per MB WhatsApp Call – Per minute
Vodacom R149 R0.15 R0.06
MTN R149 R0.15 R0.06
Cell C R149 R0.15 R0.06
Telkom R99 R0.10 R0.04
Rain R50 R0.05 R0.02

The data shows that using WhatsApp voice calling is cheap across all networks – much cheaper than paying for voice minutes using airtime.

It is also important to note that Rain does not offer traditional voice services and does not charge out-of-bundle rates, meaning users will never have to pay more than R0.05 per MB.

Now read: The anti-fraud systems implemented by Vodacom, Cell C, and Telkom

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How much it costs to call on WhatsApp