How much mobile data does a WhatsApp call consume per minute

Use of VoIP application data. Source: Android Authority

WhatsApp calls are free as long as they are made through a wifi network. When using a limited mobile data plan, the consumption that these calls generate can be very high on certain occasions.

For now the only way to know how much mobile data a WhatsApp call consumes is by doing a real test. The application itself offers a data meter in Settings > Account info > Network usage . There are also data consumption meters for Android on Google Play, such as 3G Watchdog , My data Manager or Onavo Count (the latter recommended by Facebook, through its mobile application).

The first estimates of the use of data generated by WhatsApp calls reveal that it can consume on average about 700KB (KiloBytes) per minute of call. This is a fairly relative piece of information that will depend on many factors, including the type and quality of the internet connection. The image below reveals that WhatsApp calls could even consume more than twice as much data as other Internet calling (VoIP) applications, such as Facebook Messenger.

Use of VoIP application data. Source: Android Authority Use of VoIP application data. Source: Android Authority

Use of VoIP application data, in «Kb» per minute. Less is better. Source: Android Authority

The information in the graph is far from conclusive, although it indicates that Whatspp is only below Skype in terms of data consumption. This is logical because Skype, in addition to requiring a high use of resources on a device, offers a high quality service on calls, something that requires higher bandwidth. In this sense, WhatsApp should  offer a good quality of calls, beyond the latency that exists right now in the service (at least for now, after its recent massive launch).

The use of data from calls by WhatsApp is not something that only affects the user but also mobile operators. In Ecuador, for example, WhatsApp calls have been blocked by certain operators in this country (which have not been specified), possibly due to this detail and the large number of users of the service.

WhatsApp codec used for calls
to measure accurately consumption data generated by each call, it would be important to know the technology of encoding / decoding using WhatsApp for calls ( codec ). The codec would help a lot to define more precisely the data consumption and would also indicate the impact that the WhatsApp calling system has on the performance of the device, which at first glance does not seem to significantly affect, as it happens with applications like Skype.

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