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WhatsApp to offer voice calls on popular messaging app

SAN FRANCISCO -- Just days after agreeing to sell itself to Facebook in a $19-billion deal, WhatsApp made waves again Monday, this time announcing it plans to offer voice calls on its popular mobile messaging service.

WhatsApp Chief Executive Jan Koum said the service would roll out on Android phones and iPhones this spring. WhatsApp plans to add voice calls for Blackberry, Microsoft and Nokia phones later, Koum said.

"I think we have the best voice product out there. We use the least amount of bandwidth,” Koum said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

Koum did mention the blockbuster deal at the mobile conference.

"Last week we added a new Facebook friend. I don't know if you guys heard,” Koum joked.

He insisted that the Facebook takeover would not change how WhatsApp operates. Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg also spoke Monday at the Mobile World Congress and reiterated that WhatsApp, which has 450 million users, would be run as a standalone company.

Under Facebook's ownership, WhatsApp's treatment of users' data is "absolutely not going to change," Zuckerberg said.

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