Facebook-owned WhatsApp is testing a voice-calling feature among a small number of Android device users.
The messaging service has confirmed that tests are underway but offered no further detail on a wider rollout.
Some Android users first encountered the feature last week when a button emerged in versions of the latest version of the app. According to a Reddit post by Pradnesh07 the service lets users make voice calls to contacts in the same way they would send a message.
“A friend of mine called me, I had to answer the call, then force close it,” he wrote. “Some people reported the feature [activated] after this step but I needed to reinstall the app.”
The move tests out a new market for the messaging service, giving users the chance to make phone calls provided they have an internet connection without impacting the tariffs with their network operators.
WhatsApp chief executive and founder Jam Kourn revealed that the feature was being developed during last year’s Mobile World Congress.
It could feed into WhatsApp nascent proposition around privacy as it looks to position itself as an alternative to Skype and other messaging firms. In November, it introduced en-to-end encryption that makes it nearly impossible for anyone to read users’ messages even the company itself.
Last month, it revealed the service had topped 700 million users who exchange more than 30 billion messages a day on the app.