WhatsApp getting ready for carriers to block their VOIP calls


WhatApp is nearing 1 billion monthly active users, and is by far the largest messaging platform in the world.  The company has recently added VOIP calling features to the app, a move which is likely to get them on the wrong side of carriers, who have long taken special exception to this, particularly due to this cutting them out of valuable long distance and overseas phone call revenue.

It appears WhatsApp may be preparing for carriers to block this functionality, as recent translation strings for their Windows Phone app suggests they are planning to detect this and warn users if this occurs.


The strings in question are:

  • Couldn’t place call because your phone’s cellular network prevents WhatsApp calls. Try connecting to Wi-Fi and call again.
  • Couldn’t place call because your phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network that prevents WhatsApp calls. Connect to a different network or turn Wi-Fi off.
  • Your mobile carrier doesn’t support WhatsApp calls. Try switching to another mobile carrier or connect to Wi-Fi.
  • Your Wi-Fi network doesn’t support WhatsApp calls. Try switching to another Wi-Fi network or turn off Wi-Fi and use your mobile data connection.
  • {0}’s mobile carrier or Wi-Fi network doesn’t support WhatsApp calls.

Microsoft’s Skype, which is the most used long distance calling service in the world, has of course long struggled with this opposition, sometimes resulting in the service partnering with carriers for special VOIP Skype plans.

It would be interesting to see if WhatsApp takes this route, or if they plan to ignore any resistance as WIFI networks become increasingly ubiquitous and carriers less and less relevant.

Do any of our readers rely on WhatsApp for VOIP and have you had any issues with your carrier? Let us know below.