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WeChat has broadened its wings and launched a feature that allows users to make calls to landlines as well as cell phones.

The feature dubbed “WeChat Out” is currently available in India, USA and Hong Kong.

The service will allow users on WeChat to initiate voice calls to landline and also cell phone numbers directly from the app. This VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) feature will see some extra charges getting involved. Through a blog post , the WeChat team describes the newly unveiled feature as of outstanding call quality with “super-low calling rates”. With the aforementioned nationsthat the feature is currently available in, the company promises to cover more regions and countries later on –time described as near future.

Voice calling and IMs

Voice calling over internet connection is currently the trending feature with most applications introducing the feature on their platforms. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber and Skype are just among the apps that over voice calling services over the internet. The feature works across the platform among users of the same application over the internet. The trending voice calling feature is not like the tradition method as in Skype where a user makes calls a computer connected to a telephone network to another telephone number or cell phone number.

Changing times and technology

The ability of making calls from internet connection to landline or cell phone numbers was dominated by Skype. Despite being built on a freemium model, Skype users need to acquire a subscription or Skype credit in order to make calls to mobile phone or landline numbers. The ever rising technologies with the fast-moving time saw Line (an Asian based messaging app) also unveil LINE Call, which is a flat-rate voice calling package.

Launched in 2014,LINE Call allows users to make calls from the app to landline and other cell phone numbers.This also involves extra charges that are said to be subsidized. Initially before launching this feature, Line had the usual voice calling feature that works across the platform and over the available internet connection. Line Call was just a supplementary feature to the already existing voice calling feature.

Is there any need for Skype to worry?

With the release of ‘WeChat Out’ to the market, Skype has been offered a challenge. Line and WeChat have just rolled out the ball on the field that has many messaging apps. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and Viber – just to mention but a few – might soon start developing the feature and include it in their platforms even in more sophisticated designs.

There is a probable foreseen negative impact on Skype’s user base as well as popularity. This ability of making calls to landline and cell phone numbers was the only most unique feature that it was boasting of among the several messaging apps. Video calling, voice calling and the other features are available in other available apps, which have even more users compared to Skype.

As of 2015 3Q, WeChat had over 650 monthly active users compared to Skype’s over 300 million monthly active users. This is about half-difference the figure in which WeChat could create an impact on. With this trend of rapid emerging developments, the app developers should be working round the clock to develop more enticing products and services for their respective applications.

Using WeChat Out

On the app, tap on “+” found at the top right of the main screen. Select “WeChat Out” and dial or select the desired contact. Press the call button to initiate the call. Check out your balance, top up and the call history in the Account page.