LINE Introduces Voice Calling

As messaging continues to introduce a myriad of functions, Japan’s LINE has added a flat-rate voice calling service called LINE Call. LINE already provides calling for free via the messaging app, but the new voice calling service is a move to enlist others who might not be keen on downloading an entire messaging suite to utilize the company’s products. It also puts LINE in direct competition with the likes of Skype and Google for cheap, in-app calling services that use mobile data instead of traditional minutes via regular phone service. It also stacks LINE against Facebook’s WhatsApp, who have made noises about releasing a voice service but who haven’t actually gone about doing it yet. With 340 million users on LINE, the move to offering calling signals that messaging apps are working towards making themselves full service centers of communication. Whether users stick with them through their transformation from simple text messengers to monetized suites, however, remains to be seen.