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Does WhatsApp Use Data For International Calls? Solved

Does WhatsApp Use Data For International Calls? Solved

Do you want to call your friends and family across the globe but wonder whether WhatsApp uses data for international calls or if any Wi-Fi connection does the job for you?

Since WhatsApp is a VoIP service, it uses cellular (mobile) data for international calls. However, the platform may incur additional charges if you have a limited data plan or are using WhatsApp while your phone is roaming. If you want to reduce the data usage for international calls, go to WhatsApp settings, access “Data and Storage,” and toggle on “Use Less Data for Calls.”

In this detailed guide, we’ll answer “Does WhatsApp use data for international calls?” We’ll also explore how much data the platform uses for international calls and how to reduce this usage.

Does WhatsApp charge data for international calls?

Does WhatsApp Use Data For International Calls?

WhatsApp is a VoIP service, which means it uses both Wi-Fi networks and cellular data to make and receive calls locally or internationally. 

Since WhatsApp uses cellular or mobile data for international or local calls, charges may apply depending on three main factors:

  • Service provider.
  • Mobile plan.
  • Data roaming.

Cellular service providers (Telecom companies) usually have different subscription rates due to market competition, quality of service, and cost of infrastructure. 

Therefore, the cost of making international calls may vary based on the pricing policy or packages offered by your cellular data service provider.

If you have an unlimited data plan, WhatsApp won’t make any additional charges. However, for a limited data plan, you should be careful while making long international calls on the platform.

In case you are making international calls on the platform while your phone is roaming and you don’t have an international data plan, additional charges may apply. 

Here are some additional information you should know when using WhatsApp for international calls:

  • WhatsApp cannot call an International/local mobile or landline number that is not registered on the platform.
  • WhatsApp may not work in some countries due to restrictions or bans on VoIP services. In this case, you or the other person may have to install and use a VPN service on your phone to make an international call on WhatsApp.

INFO: WhatsApp does not have any feature to directly make an international call with a person who is not in your contacts.

How much data does WhatsApp use for international calls?

How much data does WhatsApp use for international calls?

For international calls, WhatsApp uses a different amount of mobile data depending on the type and network generation, as discussed below.

Voice Call and Video Call

If you make a voice call to an international WhatsApp number, the app will consume about 400 to 500 kb of your cellular or mobile data.

This means that the platform uses 0.4 to 0.5 MB per minute or 24 to 30 MB per hour of cellular data or international calls.

Generally, Video calls use 50% to 90% more cellular/mobile data depending on these factors: 

  • Video/screen resolution.
  • Compression technique.
  • Frame rate and other factors.

So, if you make an international video call on WhatsApp, it uses the following amount of mobile data:

  • 5 MB per minute.
  • 25 MB per 5 minutes.
  • 300 MB per hour.
WhatsApp network usage

Generation of Cellular Network

Newer cellular network generations, like 4G and 5G, offer faster data transfer speed and Quality of Service (QoS). 

Therefore, when you make International calls on WhatsApp, it consumes more data to maintain its quality. While older network generations, like 3G, uses less data and often lead to WhatsApp call being cut out. 

Here’s an average of data usage of the platform for international calls:

  • 3G: 300 kb per minute or 18 MB per hour.
  • 4G: 500 kb per minute or 30 MB per hour.
  • 5G: 750 kb per minute or 45 MB per hour.

As WhatsApp also adopts its international call quality based on the quality of the cellular network, the data usage also differs, as you can see below:

  • Standard Quality (128 kbps): 0.4 – 0.75 MB per minute or 24 – 45 MB per hour.
  • High Quality (256 kbps): 1.5 – 5 MB per minute or 90 – 300 MB per hour.

How can I reduce WhatsApp data usage for international calls?

How can I reduce WhatsApp data usage for international calls?

To reduce the WhatsApp data usage for international calls, configure the “Data and Storage” settings on the app by following these steps: 


  • Open WhatsApp.”
  • Tap the three dots.
  • Select “Settings.”
  • Choose “Storage and Data.”
  • Toggle on “Use Less Data for Calls.”
Configuring WhatsApp to use less data


  • Open “WhatsApp.
  • Go to “Settings.”
  • Select “Storage and Data.”
  • Toggle on “Use Less Data for Calls.”

Once you enable the “Use Less Data for Calls” option on WhatsApp, the platform will consume less cellular data for international or local calls.

How to disable data roaming for WhatsApp?

If you want to disable the data roaming and prevent the app from incurring additional charges while using WhatsApp for international calls, do these steps:


  • Open “Settings.”
  • Tap “Connections.”
  • Select “Mobile Networks.”
  • Toggle off “Data Roaming.”


  • Open “Settings.”
  • Tap “Mobile Data” or “Cellular Data.”
  • Tap “Mobile Data Options” or “Cellular Data Options.”
  • Toggle off “Data Roaming,” and that’s all!
Disable data roaming on iPhone

You can also turn off the background data for the platform to prevent it from using cellular/mobile data on your phone for international calls. Here’s how:


  • Open “Settings.”
  • Tap “Apps.”
  • Tap “Apps” or “All Apps.”
  • Select “WhatsApp.”
  • Tap “Data Usage.”
  • Toggle off “Allow Background Data Usage.”


  • Open “Settings.”
  • Tap “WhatsApp.”
  • Toggle off “Background App Refresh.”

After you do that, WhatsApp will rely on a Wi-Fi network and won’t charge you additionally when you are using the platform to make international calls.


In this article, we’ve explained whether WhatsApp uses cellular data for international calls. We’ve also discussed how much data the app uses for international calls and how you can reduce this usage.

We hope this article has clarified your concerns, and you can now reach out to your loved ones abroad while knowing what you have to pay for it.


  • Tauqeer Ahmed

    Tauqeer Ahmed is a technology expert with over 10 years of experience in the industry. He has a degree in Computer Science and specializes in network security and software troubleshooting. You can find out more about him at