LINE users can already call other users for free through the app, but this new feature lets users call phone numbers in eight markets for a flat-rate. It had actually announced this feature back in February, but LINE Call has been formally launched today. Users will be able to retain their mobile numbers for this feature, which is only available through the Android app right now. Presumably the iOS app will soon be updated with LINE Call as well.
LINE Call is initially being switched on in the U.S., Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Thailand, Philippines and Japan. As time passes, the feature is going to be expanded into more markets as well as additional platforms. LINE has published a chart detailing rates for each particular market, and it appears that the feature may also be switched on in China soon. In a handful of markets flat-rates for landline calls start at 2 cents per minute. Rates for landline calls are the highest in Philippines, costing 12 cents per minute.
LINE Call obviously pits the popular cross-platform messaging service against rivals like Skype, which already offers a similar calling feature. WhatsApp, one of its biggest rivals, has also said that its going to start offering voice calls. It is yet to reveal exactly how that would work. On LINE, customers can pay for calls through two methods. Either by paying for credits that are prepaid, or by purchasing 30 day plans that come with predetermined minutes valid for one month.