Viber offers free calls in Brazil

Company continues aggressive plan to take on WhatsApp

Free messaging app Viber is enabling calls to fixed-line numbers at no cost in a marketing move to increase its subscriber base.

The company behind the app, which also enables multimedia text messaging, is offering unlimited free calls to fixed lines all over the country - in Brazil, inter-city or inter-state calls are charged at varying rates in standard telephony - through the ViberOut service, a Skype-like voice calls service.

Since launching the offer, a day following the announcement of Facebook's purchase of WhatsApp, the company said the main goal of the offer was to increase the number of messages exchanged through the platform in the country by 25 percent.

Viber says the initial goal has been achieved, adding that six million calls have been made through the service since the offer was launched, with a total call time of 25 million minutes.

By March 1, about 1,5 million new Brazilian users had been added to Viber's subscriber base of 12 million. By comparison, WhatsApp has nearly 40 million users in Brazil.

Free calls through Viber will be available until March 17 - however, the offer has already been extended and the if the same growth rate experienced in the last couple of weeks is maintained, the offer may be renewed again.