The impact of WhatsApp voice calling on mobile voice revenues has been much smaller than predicted.
WhatsApp voice calling was rolled out in March and April 2015, and many people predicted that mobile voice revenues would plummet as users switched from traditional voice to WhatsApp calling. This has not happened.
Vodacom said the impact of WhatsApp voice calling has been negligible on its voice revenues, with less than 1% of its customer base actively using the service.
“At the moment, the majority of phones on the network aren’t smartphones, so WhatsApp calling does not impact voice services to this group,” said Vodacom’s Richard Boorman.
Customers with smartphones, meanwhile, are cautious about using the service, he said.
While the service is not impacting voice revenues yet, the company is aware that mobile users’ habits are changing.
Vodacom said it is prepared to supply services in whichever way works best for its customers.
“Our focus is on continuing to invest in the network to make sure that we can supply the best possible experience, whether it’s voice or data, that the customer needs.”
MTN and Cell C were asked for comment on the impact of WhatsApp on their revenues, but they did not respond by the time of publication.