Messaging app LINE is to gain extended voice support, enabling low cost calls to mobile phones and landlines both domestically and internationally.
LINE Call will be released this month to users in Japan, the US, Mexico, Spain, Thailand and the Philippines. The messaging platform previously only offered free voice and video calls between LINE users.
The news follows hot on the heels of WhatsApp announcing at Mobile World Congress that it will soon launch a voice service to its widely used messaging application.
And Viber also recently boosted its efforts to generate revenue by introducing functionality that enables users to make low-cost calls to any mobile or landline phone number.
In addition to LINE Call, the parent company also announced LINE Business Connect, a customisable corporate service that allows business users to send targeted, optimised messages to specific users; and LINE Creators Market, an open platform for the sale of user-produced stickers.
LINE now claims to have 370 million users globally, although the company does not distinguish between active users and registered users, unlike other messaging app providers. The most popular messaging app, WhatsApp, has 430 million monthly active users.
The new services are part of the ‘Beyond LINE’ initiative in which the company is looking to evolve the services it offers users.