There are many reasons why you might be interested in considering alternatives to your regular established telephone service (through your cell phone or even via landline).
Moving to internet phone calling apps that allow you to call telephone numbers (in addition to connecting you with profiles) such as Google Voice, Tango, Skype, and others utilize Wi-Fi to make the connection has risen dramatically in popularity in recent years.
In this article, we’ll answer some of the most common questions people ask about about using internet phone calling calls like WhatsApp and how it compares to normal phone calls.
How is the quality of the internet phone call, compared to a normal call?
The quality is going to depend upon a few things. First, it is going to depend upon the quality of the connection for both participants in the call. If someone has a great connection on one side, but the other person has a low quality connection, the parties may struggle with poor sound quality and drops in the connection (brief or total).
Next, the quality of the call will depend upon the quality of the device the callers are using and the set up. If you are using good quality headphones and a high quality mic (versus just using a cell phone), you’ll have a better chance of hearing more and sounding good. If you are both using cell phones and you have lots of noise going on in the background, just like a normal call, the sound and enjoyment of the call will be diminished.
Honestly, if the connection is good on both sides, I would argue that you might even have a better call with the app than a normal call, if you are using your high quality mic and headphones on your computer.
Is it free to make phone calls with apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger?
This is truly one of the coolest things about internet telephone apps. If you play your cards right, yes, your phone calls could be entirely free. Meaning that you could cut out your landline, and dump your cell phone plan. (Though I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have to).
If you have access to free Wi-Fi (or Wi-Fi that someone else pays for that you have access to), technically it shouldn’t cost you anything to hit the button to make a phone call using one of these apps. This of course completely discounts that you probably had to invest at least some money to acquire the device that you are using to make the call, and you may have used mobile data or paid for Wi-Fi when browsing for your apps or downloading them.
The data/internet component is important too, if you are using mobile data to make your phone call, rather than using free or private W-Fi. If you don’t have any mobile data available on your phone, you won’t be able to accidentally use it while making your call.
Will it cost me anything more to make international calls with WhatsApp?
Nope. This is one of the major benefits of an internet phone app over normal calls. I don’t know of a single internet calling app that charges you for to reach out to people in any particular country in the world, regardless of where you are located.
While you still might use data or incur internet charges to place your international call, you will probably find that using your mobile data plan is still cheaper than paying for a landline or a mobile phone minutes plan to make international calls.
In general, the apps don’t care where you are in the world, or where the person you are calling is located. So long as you both have the app and a working connection (free or paid) it is going to do its job.
What if I don’t have access to the internet (or a mobile connection)?
If you can’t get a signal to your phone (or computer), then your app isn’t going to work. There isn’t any option to transfer the connection to your landline. WhatsApp and its cohorts will only work if you have access to the internet. If the power goes out, for example, and takes down your router, you won’t be able to use your internet telephone app to call the power company.
While landlines (and a regular minutes plan on your cell phone) could be done without, if you want to be able to get help in troublesome situations, it is good to have a device that will allow you to make normal phone calls.
Is it safe to use apps like WhatsApp to make a regular phone call?
I can’t speak for all the apps in the world that allow you to make phone calls, unfortunately. What I would do before making calls (especially if you are concerned about privacy) is to make sure you are using an app that provides you with details about security and encryption.
For example, WhatApp has added end to end encryption to their calls and videos. What this means is that WhatsApp scrambles the data as it is transferred so that if someone were to “spy” on your information (meaning the call), if they were to access it in some way, that they would need the code to unscramble that data and understand it.
In general, avoid providing any internet telephone app your financial details, or your private information (such as date of birth or tax identification number). And look carefully at the “permissions” the app seeks to have you authorize after you download it. If the app is asking to access folders that don’t make sense, or for more authority than seems necessary, definitely feel free to delete that app and try a different one.
Can you make emergency calls with WhatsApp?
At the time of writing this article, it is my understanding that you should not make emergency calls with WhatsApp. This is yet another reason why it is good to have a working phone that can make normal calls, even if you are primarily using apps like WhatsApp to make most of your telephone contacts.
Technically, I think if you initial an emergency call with WhatsApp, you might be able to get through, but the operator taking your call may have trouble confirming your location (important for dispatching services). Some emergency call centers may automatically route your emergency call away from the local center to the place they assume you are. You might talk to someone who can’t really help you, or to no one at all.
As I understand it, Skype does have some functionality and ability for making emergency calls for some version of Skype (but not all), and in certain countries (but not all). Over time, other apps may follow suit.
But for now, if you are truly in an emergency situation, I wouldn’t bother trying to call for emergency assistance with WhatsApp or any other app unless you have no other choice.
Can I call someone who doesn’t have the same telephone app?
This is going to depend upon the app. Some apps (like Skype) allow you to call landlines and cell phones. Other apps (like WhatsApp) only allow you to make calls to other users who have installed the app.
More questions about WhatsApp versus a Normal Call?
Let us know in the comments section below.
More about WhatsApp?
Then check out these other Geekspie articles to learn more about WhatsApp: