Ever wanted to chat on the phone with more than one friend at a time? Well, today you might be in luck as mobile messaging service Line has added support for that very feature.
Line has supported one-on-one video and voice calling for some time, but this new feature takes things to a new level by allowing more than one person in on voice calls. In fact, Line said it supports up to 200 people concurrently.
200 is a large number for just friends, at least if the call remains productive, so there’s likely to be a business angle to this too. Indeed, Line said it has aspirations of replacing some enterprise calling systems when it launched a standalone group calling app last year, and now it has integrated that feature into its core app.
A feature like this might help Line stand out from the crowd, though, which includes Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Aside from more than a billion active users, Messenger offers video and voice calling, while WhatsApp added voice last year and is rumored to be adding video soon. Neither supports mass calls right now so this new addition puts the spotlight on Line calling.
The new feature is available in all countries worldwide apart from Line’s four largest markets: Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and Indonesia. Those countries account for 67 percent of Line’s 215 million monthly users. That could place a lot of strain on the company, which likely explains why the new feature will land in those places later.
Japan-based Line, which was founded by Korean Internet firm Naver, is reportedly gunning for a dual US-Japan IPO this year, having scrapped plans to go public in 2014 and 2015. The company grossed $1 billion in revenue for the first time last year, but user growth has slackened which, coupled with the rise of competing apps, is a cause for concern.
Update to correct that the new feature is voice calling