India’s very own chat messenger app Hike has now launched free ‘Hike Calls’ that allow users across the globe over 200 countries to make voice calls with the help of 2G, 3G and Wi-Fi networks.
The free Hike calling feature announced last Wednesday has been launched for beta on Android, which contributes to over 90% of its user base. Windows and iOS versions of the voice calling service is expected to be released by end of March. The launch of voice calls has come up within a month after its acquisition of Zip Line, a free calling app, which was much expected.
According to Kavin Bharti Mittal, the founder and CEO of Hike, two key factors played a important role is building the app. The two key aspects are the cost sensitive Indian market and calling service to be available globally. The voice call feature has been refined so much that it uses very little data, allowing more calling minutes per MB for the users. Also, the app lets its users to make calls to over 200 countries allowing them to stay connected with the friends and family around the world. These two aspects work as the core for the Hike free voice calling service.
Hike was launched in December 2012 and has reported more than 35 million users in August 2014. It has raised $86 million from Tiger Global and BSB, until then. Major users are Indians under the age of 15. Some of the striking features of Hike is that it lets you leave messages to friends who are offline, allows one to SMS from Hike to people who do not have access to internet or 3G, the Hidden Mode to secretly store your private chats with password and other regional stickers.
This free voice calling app has been introduced during the time when the mobile operators are constantly insisting that over-the-top (OTT) players like WhatsApp, Line, Skype, Hike should be controlled and brought under a regulation. As these OTT players use VoIP to let their users make free calls over the internet which thereby affects the telecom business. While sectoral regulator TRAI has already started the enquiry regarding the OTT players, it has to be noted that Hike is a joint venture between Bharati Enterprises (Airtel) and Japan’s SoftBank Corporation.