Mobile video calling is one of the easiest ways to communicate “face-to-face” over long distances.
Most modern smartphones feature both front and rear-facing cameras, allowing them to support video calling over apps like WhatsApp.
Our previous experiments showed that VoIP calls are substantially cheaper than standard airtime charges for conventional calls across mobile networks, as long as you have a mobile data bundle.
To determine whether the same is true for video calling using mobile data, we tested the data usage of a video call.
Data usage test
We opted to test WhatsApp’s video calling platform as it is a very popular messaging app and won the data consumption section in our previous tests.
For this test, we switched off Wi-Fi on our smartphones and placed the call while connected to a mobile network.
We used the MyDataManager app installed on a Samsung Galaxy S9 to monitor our data usage for the duration of the test.
Both the caller and recipient were connected using a mobile data connection, and the video call was active for exactly two minutes.
Speaking was conducted by both parties throughout the video call to simulate a standard experience, and WhatsApp’s data usage settings were set to default.
After the two-minute video call was done, the MyDataManager app reflected the following data usage details:
- Two-minute call – 10.1MB
- Usage per minute – 5.05MB
We then calculated the price per MB of data used across five local mobile operators – Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, Cell C, and Rain Mobile.
This figure was calculated using the 1GB prepaid data bundle price for each operator, with the exception of Rain – which charges R50 per GB as a flat rate.
Standard mobile call pricing was sourced from the default prepaid tariffs for each mobile operator, too, with the exception of Rain – which does not offer voice calling on its network.
The results of the data pricing comparison are shown below.
|Operator||1GB Bundle||Price per MB||Cellular Call – Per minute||WhatsApp Video Call – Per minute|