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Viber to offer cheap worldwide voice calls

apps Updated: Sep 12, 2014 12:19 IST

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The global launch of Viber Out could see the messaging app out-muscling its growing competition in what is set to become a hugely crowded market in 2014.

The feature, which will let users make low-cost calls to mobile and landline numbers, goes live Tuesday for iPhone, Android and desktop users -- anyone with a Windows Phone 8 handset will have to wait a little while longer.

"Viber Out gives our millions of users a new way to use Viber and ensures that they can reach any contact at any time," said Talmon Marco, CEO of Viber. "We will continue to improve Viber Out, keeping our users connected at the most affordable rates possible."

Using the feature means buying call credit, available as an in-app purchase for Apple and Android users or a credit/debit card transaction for the desktop version. Viber claims that unlike other messaging apps offering the same feature, that its rates will be significantly lower.

The rise of social messaging apps is expected to be one of the key trends of 2014. Over the next 12 months users of Line, Viber, WhatsApp and countless other similar apps are expected to send 27.5 trillion messages, according to the latest research by Ovum.

As such they are becoming part of the smartphone's standard functionality and as the year progresses, the companies behind these apps will be pulling out all of the stops to make their services more appealing and, crucially, to start making more money from their services.

Ovum's work on the subject, the "Social Messaging 2014 Trends to Watch Report" goes as far as to say that the established services will expand their offerings beyond messaging to incorporate other services, such as gaming, payments, contextually aware or location-based features and become social media platforms in their own right.