WhatsApp voice calling users in South Africa can expect to pay normal data rates when using the service on a mobile network, spokespeople for MTN and Vodacom have said.
This is despite the fact that the two operators filed higher data prices for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) years ago.
Vodacom lodged a tariff of R10 per MB for VoIP traffic, while MTN lodged a tariff of R25 per MB.
MTN previously warned users in its terms and conditions: “You will also be charged retrospectively at R21.93 per Megabyte (VAT excluded) [R25 per MB VAT included] for any VoIP traffic…”
The two operators have repeatedly assured they won’t implement the special rates for VoIP they have filed, but this doesn’t remove the threat to consumers that having such rates on file at Icasa represents.
With WhatsApp voice calling becoming widely available in recent weeks due to the messaging company opening up the service on an invitation basis, we asked the operators to confirm their plans for the special VoIP rates they have filed.
Both MTN and Vodacom said they recognise any transaction that happens on WhatsApp as a normal data transaction.
Vodacom said its is not anticipating any impact on its network due to WhatsApp Voice.