Mobile messaging service WhatsApp says it hopes to increase its customer base to two billion after announcing it will be offering free phone calls to its users from as early as April.
The announcement came just a week after the California-based company, which has 465 million users, confirmed it is to be acquired by Facebook in a deal said to be worth £11bn.
Jan Koum, the co-founder and chief executive of WhatsApp (pictured), said during a speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, that he is hoping to grow the service to one or two billion users.
Koum said that the WhatsApp voice product would 'focus on simplicity' as it has with its text-based messaging service.
He said that WhatsApp would first release a version of the voice service for the iPhone and Google Android platforms, followed by services for Windows Phone, as well as some phones by BlackBerry and Nokia.
‘We want to continue to have that minimalistic approach to the product,’ he said.
‘We at WhatsApp want to get out of the way and let people communicate.’
Koum added that the voice product would ‘use the least amount of bandwidth, and we optimise the hell out of it’.
Speaking about the Facebook acquisition announcement earlier this month, Koum said that the product wouldn't change, stressing that WhatsApp would remain independent. He cited Instagram's example, after the acquisition of the photo-sharing service by Facebook.