WhatsApp, Viber Launching Paid Services, But Which Free Version Is Better?

WhatsApp and Viber are the top competitors when it comes to instant messaging and making domestic and international calls. But it looks like both companies are looking to offer paid services in the future.

WhatsApp is continuing to tweak its services by offering paid versions of its services over the internet, according to credit rating firm India Ratings and Research. The company released a statement about WhatsApp’s new paid services on Friday, August 14.

“OTT players will have to roll out separate packages for VoIP (voice over internet protocol) services which shall eventually be charged to the subscribers. Players such as WhatsApp, WeChat, and Hike shall have to tweak their business models by differentiating between the messaging and VoIP product offerings.”

Last month, it was reported that the net neutral panel is asking for regulation on domestic calls on internet messaging apps like Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber. According to this new regulation, this will put these apps in competition with similar services offered by telecom service providers (TSPs). However, it’s not clear if these paid services will make it to the U.S. and other parts of the world.

More smartphone users are using these instant messaging applications when it comes to keeping in touch with their friends and family members. As of right now, both WhatsApp and Viber offer free voice calls. WhatsApp is free only in the first year of use, then it will increase to an annual rate of 99 cents. Meanwhile, Viber is free for lifetime, but you will get charged for calling landline or mobile phone numbers.

Both WhatsApp and Viber can be used on mobile devices using Android OS, iOS, BlackBerry OS, Series 40, Symbian, and Windows Phone. However, you can’t make calls or send messages from WhatsApp to Viber or vice versa, as previously reported via NeuroGadget.

Some users prefer WhatsApp’s Material Design interface since it’s much easier to use. It features three tabs that display your Calls, Chats, and Contacts. You can also record voice messages and send them to your contacts.

Back in February, WhatsApp introduced the voice calling feature. Some users complained that it lacked call quality and consumed as much data as Skype. WhatsApp has worked hard to correct these issues, but the application still doesn’t support VoIP calls.

As for Viber, it’s been offering voice calls since its launch. The company has also worked hard to improve the sound quality and the service. However, it only offers HD voice calls at the moment. Some users prefer Viber for its attractive interface and unlimited features. It has a Live Tile that allows you to show your chats on the start screen. Unfortunately, you will only see missed messages, but not the recipient’s name and number.

Another attractive feature of Viber is it can be installed on Windows, Mac OS, or Linux computers. This allows users to send and receive calls and to listen to their missed messages.

Both messaging apps have their pros and cons but offer plenty of benefits for users who want to make calls. If you want a free option, you can always rely on Google’s Hangouts or Facebook Messenger.

What are your thoughts on WhatsApp and Viber offering paid services? Would that keep you away from using their apps? Which one do you prefer to use? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.

[Image: Microsiervos Geek Crew/Flickr]