The company behind Indian messaging app Hike acquired a startup that builds technology to enable voice calls over Wi-Fi, suggesting it may soon add that functionality to its service.
Hike announced it has acquired Zip Phone, which is also based in India and is backed by US seed funding group Y-Combinator. No financial figure for the deal was disclosed.
Hike founder and CEO Kavin Bharti Mittal said the acquisition will allow free voice calling to be added to the main app, with the functionality one of the most-requested features by users.
The ability to make calls without using contracted minutes or incurring roaming charges will clearly appeal to users.
If Hike adds voice calling to its messaging app, it would be following the lead of other messaging players that have added capabilities to their platform.
LINE, Viber, WeChat, KakaoTalk and others offer voice services, stickers and games via their respective messaging apps.
LINE in particular has big plans to expand what it offers users, with a raft of products announced in October that include a taxi booking service, payment, mobile food ordering, indoor mapping and a partnership to create a music streaming service.
Hike differentiates itself in India by offering features designed for a market where data plans can be expensive. These include Hike2SMS and free SMS credits for feature phones.
Hike, which claims to have more than 35 million users, is also looking to build a presence in Europe and Latin America. The company picked up $65 million in funding in August 2014.