WhatsApp wants to be the messaging service to the masses, and in order to be that they can‘t charge for the service
I know what you are thinking: “œI‘ve never paid for a WhatsApp subscription, and I‘ve been using it way longer than a year.“ That‘s because in real terms, we in South Africa (and the rest of the developing world) are unaffected. According to WhatsApp, they have never charged for the service in developing countries due to hurdles is gaining traction. Read: WhatsApp could face regulation in South Africa
So we aren‘t really affected, but it is still a very important move. According to a blog post from WhatsApp, the rest of the world will also now not be charged that $1 a year subscription fee. Announced by founder Jan Koum at this year‘s DLD conference, he explained that the charge might not sound like much, but still prevents many people from using the service, especially those without access to card payments.
He also said that WhatsApp wants to be the messaging service to the masses, and in order to be that there can be no WhatsApp fee (just like their stiffest competition). Koum admitted that aside from being an obstacle for some users, the paid structure was just not working well.
Vitally important, Koum has also said that there won‘t be any adverts on the service going forward, to the relief of about 900 million subscribers. Instead, they seem to be going the way of WeChat, saying that “we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from.”
WeChat offers users the ability to make financial transactions (like ordering food with OrderIn) and you can also now make voice calls to landlines and smartphones alike with their new WeChat Out functionality.
Do you think dropping the WhatsApp fee is purely to stave off pressure from the likes of WeChat, which is growing at a phenomenal pace? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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