Using a VoIP service is a great alternative to cellular calls when you are connected to a Wi-Fi network or have mobile data.
If data prices are low, using mobile data for VoIP calls can be substantially cheaper than standard mobile call rates.
There are a variety of factors which can influence the amount of data used by a VoIP voice call, however, including connection type, quality, and signal strength.
Encoding methods and the different practices used by VoIP apps can also result in differences in data usage.
To see if there are major usage discrepancies between popular apps, we measured the data usage for a two-minute voice call on WhatsApp, Google Duo, Facebook Messenger, and Skype.
The price of the call was then calculated using the price of a 1GB data bundle from each of South Africa’s major mobile operators.
Data usage test
We used the MyDataManager app installed on a Samsung Galaxy S9 to monitor our data usage for the duration of the test.
We then disabled all Wi-Fi connections and connected to a 4G mobile network.
Both the caller and recipient were connected using a mobile data connection, and each call was active for exactly two minutes.
Speaking was conducted by both parties throughout each call to simulate a standard calling experience, and the applications were left on their default voice calling settings.
The results of the test are posted below.
- Two-minute call – 800KB
- Usage per minute – 400KB
|Operator||1GB Bundle||Price per MB||Cellular Call – Per minute||WhatsApp Call – Per minute|
- Two-minute call – 1.11MB
- Usage per minute – 550KB
|Operator||1GB Bundle||Price per MB||Cellular Call – Per minute||Messenger Call – Per minute|
- Two-minute call – 1.85MB
- Usage per minute – 925KB
|Operator||1GB Bundle||Price per MB||Standard Call – Per minute||Skype Call – Per minute|
- Two-minute call – 2.44MB
- Usage per minute – 1.22MB
|Operator||1GB Bundle||Price per MB||Standard Call – Per minute||Duo Call – Per minute|