LINE

Popular messaging app Line is looking to enter the world of phone calls and quite possibly give Skype a run for its money.

Line has taken over large portions of the world as one of the most popular messaging apps. A lot of this can be attributed to its sticker system that is now being copied widely by other services, but it’s also due to it being a solid communication system. While the service already offers video and voice calls between Line members, it has not had the ability to reach out to people outside of its system. That, however, looks to be changing.

Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo, Line announced that it will be releasing a service to call landlines and cellphones in the near future. The service, it said, will be similar to Skype and will first launch in the Japan, Mexico, Spain, Philippines, Thailand and the United States. No pricing was mentioned at this time, but considering Skype’s notoriously low prices, Line is going to have to be super aggressive if it hopes to take away any of the Microsoft-owned service’s business.

Beyond launching a phone service, Line also announced that it will be opening up its sticker marketplace to all designers and companies that wished to take advantage of it. The new, more open, marketplace will launch in April and be called Line Creators Market with the revenue being split between designers and the company. While Line Game, the company’s gaming platform, accounts for 60 percent of its revenue, the stickers make up another 20 percent and over 1.8 billion are sent per day on the service.

With the recent $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook, the messaging space has never been hotter, and the more services a company can provide will only make it that much more attractive. With the recent rumors that Japanese cellular carrier SoftBank has expressed in either purchasing the company outright, or helping Line to go public, these new steps are sure to make that much more valuable.