I'm trying to find out approximately the data usage it takes to make a voice "phone call" using WhatsApp.

To this point, I've scoured the WhatsApp help itself (no info), and looked at the "on topic" guidance at WebApps.SE, ProWebmasters.SE, and here at SU. This doesn't look a perfect fit for any SE site, really -- which surprises me!

Still, there are a number of WhatsApp questions here on SU, and it feels like this is my best hope. Could a mod or other high-rep user give me a steer on this? Thanks!

Background: this is for connections in southern Africa where options are few, but where WhatsApp works better than internet dongles, bizarrely enough. The packages are based on x amount of data transfer per month, though: thus the point of my question. I'd like to be able to guesstimate what kind of hit on data allowance using voice chat would make.

  • 1
    Between 8 and 30MB per hour.
    – qasdfdsaq
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 11:05

2 Answers 2


I believe this is a valid question, but also believe the context needs to be placed right in the opening sentence. Meaning your “background” footnote should perhaps be condensed and placed right at the top of the question. Something along the lines of:

The country I live in has fairly bad Internet connectivity but I found that this software tool works best for me here. Still I am concerned about data usage since there are caps/allowances here.

And then more details as you explained. My only suggestion would be to add some specific details on the exact device and OS you are using. There might be apps out there that can measure your bandwidth on your device that might allow you—for example—to make a short call and then observe/measure the bandwidth usage yourself.

In a case like this I would say this would not be a software recommendation since you are posing a question about a problem and someone might be able to recommend a tool you can use.

Or maybe there is a larger/more-generic question that can be asked about how to effectively measure data usage in countries where data usage is restricted or at a premium?

Wait for others to weigh in, but I trust my approach to this as being 90% valid and realistic.

  • Really helpful - thanks. I'll take your closing bit of advice on board and see what other views get registered in the next day or so. Don't want to post precipitously! :)
    – Dɑvïd
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 22:28

While I don't think this question itself is off-topic it is quite possible that a variant of it already has the answer you want.

One of the current problems is that most VOIP applications have a lot of bandwidth adaptation going on and whoever answers your question would first have to find out the maximum bitrate codec supported by WhatsApp. This isn't an impossible task and is probably easy enough to find out but might not be publicly announced by the developers themselves.

There are several searches that might help.

All of these will give you rough ballpark figures, in particular the Skype ones are probably reasonably comparable to WhatsApp.

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