Skype is the leading provider of voice and video calling services, not just in the U.S., but also across the globe. The application is actually the granddaddy of IMs and VoIP; however, recent times have seen it experience some of its toughest tests in business.
The application is actually the granddaddy of IMs and VoIP; however, recent times have seen it experience some of its toughest tests in business.
The market is now filled with similar apps offering the same services as Skype. In addition to the Microsoft-owned chat app, the U.S. market has Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Kik, Viber as well as WhatsApp. However, it is only Skype that offers the best value when it comes to making international calls. Viber also offers similar Viber Out calls, but it has yet to gain significant traction in the U.S.
Trouble seems to be headed Skype’s way as WeChat, the most popular app in China and Asia with a user base of more than 600 million monthly active users, is readying a feature that will enable its users enjoy international calls that are very synonymous with what Skype already offers.
WeChat Out currently available in the U.S., India and Hong Kong
WeChat Out is the name of the newly launched service and if you are familiar with Skype and Viber, you will realize that the naming of this service is actually the same in the latter apps. At the moment, this service is only available to those using the app from the U.S., India as well as Hong Kong, but a mass roll out is expected during this Q1 2016.
Using WeChat Out will let the users keep in touch with friends and family not using the app on their devices, be it via a phone number or landline. This eliminates the idea of having to force someone to download the app in order to communicate with them, but just like Viber Out and Skype Out, there is a catch.
Tencent has revealed that its current users will be gifted with credit worth $0.99 to get them started; a figure the company says will allow the users to make calls for 100 minutes. However, there is no news of the amount the company expects to charge for these calls once the gift is over.
WeChat has been known to be the best when it comes to monetization of its services. In fact, it is among the few chat apps that makes lots of cash from its services. On the contrary, it is playing catch-up in this field as other players have been here for quite some time now. LINE, a major competitor to WeChat in Asia, started offering this service more than two years ago.
It will be interesting to see how this tool fares on as far as acquiring more users from the West is concerned.
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