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Instant messaging app Hike launches voice-calling feature, ahead of WhatsApp

India- based messaging app Hike has announced in a blog post that

India- based messaging app Hike has announced in a blog post that
the company has rolled out a voice-calling feature on its Android app. 
Earlier this month, Hike acquired Y
Combinator-backed Zip Phone
, which allows users to make Wi-Fi-enabled phone
calls.

Commenting on this acquisition, Kavin Bharti Mittal, Founder
and CEO, Hike messenger, had said, “From day one we’ve strongly believed that
through communication, we can bring India online. With the acquisition we take
one more step towards that mission. Zip Phone’s technology will allow us to
bring free voice calling to the market much faster.”

Hike has managed to add a voice-calling feature before
Facebook’s most popular messaging app WhatsApp, which reportedly has over 70
million monthly active users in India, or about 10 percent of its global user
base.

Previously, WhatsApp has promised to add voice-calling
features by early 2015, but there is still no word on that yet. However, a
folder recently spotted in the latest build of WhatsApp,
however, indicates that voice-calling feature may be coming soon.

Like other Hike features, including free SMS credits for
feature phones, its voice-calling feature is designed to be data-efficient
since data plans are relatively costly in India. Hike claims “our users can
pack in many more minutes per MB when calling on Hike.”

Here’s what the company is offering:

  1. Free hike to hike calls over 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi
  2. Call friends in 200+ countries
  3. Optimized for low bandwidth networks

In addition to India, Hike is also keen to acquire users in
international markets, including Europe and Latin America. Currently, it claims
to have over 35
million users
, with 90% residing in India. It has raised $86 million from
Tiger Global and BSB.

 

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