Prices compared – WhatsApp calling vs mobile voice

WhatsApp has made it possible for Android users to “invite” one another to use its voice calling service before the much-anticipated feature launches officially.

To get an invitation, Android users must have the latest version of WhatsApp, which is typically not available from the Google Play store.

A user who already has access to WhatsApp Voice must then call the person who wishes to receive access.

These voice calls run over your data connection, and consume about 470 kilobytes (KB) per minute for each user.

With a per-minute measure of data usage, it is possible to calculate a per-minute cost for a WhatsApp voice call. This means it can be compared to the normal voice call cost of mobile operators.

To make the comparison as fair as possible, we looked at the lowest per-minute voice rates that aren’t limited to on-network usage, and which don’t require you to buy a bundle of some kind.

We calculated the per-minute cost of a WhatsApp call by taking into account data usage on both sides of the call (940KB per minute).

The table below shows how the cost of a WhatsApp call over South African mobile operators’ data networks compares to their normal voice call prices.

WhatsApp vs mobile voice per minute Cell C MTN Telkom Vodacom
Cheapest voice rate (all) 66c 60c 75c 79c
2GB data bundle 11c 6.6c 6.6c 11.2c
1GB data bundle 13.4c (see 2GB) 10.6c 13.4c
500MB data bundle 15.6c 18.2c 12.6c 18.2c
100MB data bundle 17.4c 26.6c 27.6c 26.6c
Ad-hoc / OOB data 90.8c 90.8c 26c – 92c 92c – R1.84

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Prices compared – WhatsApp calling vs mobile voice