Line, the popular Japan-based messaging service, has announced it will be launching a data-based calling service in March, taking on services like Skype and Hangouts. Line is looking to undercut from mobile and landline operators on price.
Line app's upcoming calling feature, allowing users to call mobiles and landlines across the globe, will initially be made available under two plans - pay-as-you-go and 30-day plan. While in Japan, the 30-day plan will offer a maximum of 60 minutes, a separate plan with call credits is said to cost JPY 14 (Rs. 8 approximately) per minute to mobile phones and JPY 3 (Re. 1 approximately) to landlines, states Engadget.
The service is expected to reach Japan, US, Mexico, Spain, Thailand and the Philippines in March this year.
Rival messaging app Viber had launched a similar service recently.
Additionally, Line will be letting its users sell their own stickers online via its Web store, called Line Creators Market, a new platform launched on Wednesday. Registration is free of cost for users. One can upload a total of 42 images, which includes a set of 40 stickers, one main image, and one image for sticker tab in chats. After the set is reviewed against the firm's sticker sales criteria, the user can start selling the stickers. Each sticker set will be priced at JPY 100 (Rs. 60 approximately). 50 percent of the revenue from the stickers will be sent to the user's bank account.
WhatsApp, the popular cross-platform messaging service for smartphones, recently announced it will soon also be offering a voice service. CEO Jan Koum said the voice service will be deployed for Android and iPhones this spring, with Blackberry and Microsoft and Nokia phones coming later.