Messaging App LINE Takes on Skype, Google Hangouts by Launching Its Cheap Voice Calling Service
In an effort to compete with similar messaging and calling services Skype and Google Hangouts, LINE has launched its cheap voice call service, called LINE Call. LINE Call allows users to dial mobile phones and landlines around the world using their existing mobile phone number for flat rates ranging from $0.02 a minute to mobile phones and landlines in the U.S. to $0.16 a minute to mobile phones in the Philippines. LINE’s existing free user-to-user service is still available.
Using LINE Call
To use LINE Call, you must either buy call credit or a 30-day plan through the LINE app or the LINE Web Store or, for Android users, trade in LINE coins. Call credit pricing is a bit more expensive than LINE’s 30-day plan pricing, but gives users 180 days to use their credit. 30-day plans offer LINE Call’s cheapest pricing but give users only 30 days to use the plan. For Android users with LINE coins, each coin can currently be exchanged for two LINE Call credits.
Once you’ve purchased call credit or a 30-day plan, simply open the keypad in LINE, tap More, then LINE Call. Next search for contacts either by typing their phone number or by searching the contacts or recent tabs. Once you select a contact, LINE will display the rate per minute, which you can check before dialing. When you’re ready, click “Call.” To dial an international number not in your contacts list, first select the call recipient’s country and LINE will input the appropriate country code before you dial.
LINE Enters the Competitive World of Voice Calling Apps
Competition in the the world of voice calling apps is becoming steeper. WhatsApp recently announced it will launch its own voice calling service by June, which will compete with LINE’s user-to-user calling service. As internet connectivity improves, high call quality becomes standard across the board and pricing remains low due to competition, messaging services like Skype, LINE and WhatsApp will have to focus more on ease of use to win users over. The fact that LINE allows users’ real phone number to appear on the recipient’s caller ID already gives it a head start over Skype’s calling service.
Initially LINE Call is only available for Android users in the U.S, Columbia, Japan, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Spain and Thailand (with iPhone service coming shortly), though the fact that LINE already lists a pricing structure for countries around the world suggests the service will be expanding soon. For more information on LINE Call and pricing, click here.
Download LINE for Android version 4.1.
What online voice calling service do you use?