WhatsApp starts charging for iPhone app (as it overtakes Twitter)

Jul 18, 2013 | Mobile, WhatsApp

WhatsApp Messenger is to start charging iPhone users a $0.99 for its instant messaging app, bringing it in line with price plans on Android and other devices. The chat app now has more than 250m active users, making it bigger than Twitter. The charge only apply to new users, meaning current iPhone customers can continue […]

WhatsApp Messenger is to start charging iPhone users a $0.99 for its instant messaging app, bringing it in line with price plans on Android and other devices.


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The chat app now has more than 250m active users, making it bigger than Twitter.
The charge only apply to new users, meaning current iPhone customers can continue using Whatsapp for free.
“We are updating our business model for new iPhone users going forward. As you know, we used to charge iPhone users a $.99 one time payment, while Android and other platforms had free service for the first year and paid $0.99 a year after that,” explained WhatsApp in a blog post.
“From now on, we’ve simplified our business model so that all users on all platforms will enjoy their first year of WhatsApp service for free, and only pay $.99 per year after that.”
Existing users of WhatsApp on iPhone won’t have to pay the annual subscription, however: “WhatsApp will be free of charge for the rest of your life,” promises the company, which also sets out grand ambitions for its life as a fully-freemium product.
“We feel that this model will allow us to become the communications service of the 21st century, and provide you the best way to stay in touch with your friends and family with no ads getting in the way.”
It launched in July 2009, and three years later is processing more than 8bn inbound and 12bn outbound messages.
In April this year, industry analyst Informa Telecoms and Media estimated that daily traffic from WhatsApp and other “OTT” [over-the-top] messaging services had already overtaken daily text-messaging traffic. The company predicted that by the end of 2013, 41bn OTT messages will be sent every day, compared to 19.5bn SMS texts.
WhatsApp has stuck doggedly to an ad-free model for its app.
New features are also being added with every new update to WhatsApp’s app. Besides changing from paid to freemium, the latest version of the iPhone app includes support for Apple’s iCloud to store backups of people’s conversation history.
The company has also launched “developer hooks” to make it easier for other applications to connect to WhatsApp on iPhone.
Read the official announcement here

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