Uninor Offers Cheaper Facebook & WhatsApp Access. Other Telcos Might Follow Soon

Uninor is offering what it claims is the telecom industry's cheapest access to popular social networks Facebook and WhatsApp. A trend to be followed by others



Telecom operators are feeling the heat from Internet companies. Ideally, collaboration is the way forward for both business but it won’t be an easy route. With Internet companies like the messaging app WhatsApp eating into messaging revenues already and now looking to have the piece of share on voice, telecom operators have no choice than to jump into data and provide tailored services. The latest operator to provide internet (to be read as Facebook and WhatsApp) to its customers as the way they consume in the country is Uninor.

Reported earlier by Medianama, Unior has announced a deal with Facebook and Whatsapp where it is offering the services at fixed costs rather than on usage. Talking more about the alliance Morten Karlsen Sorby, the nominated CEO of Uninor stated that the company is changing the way it is approaching selling data services to customers:

“We are moving out of data and moving in to Internet. Internet is the way in which customers consume data and our approach will be to make that usage the cheapest among all operators.”

Since the majority of the people access Facebook and WhatsApp as a source of entertainment and information, the company is making these services the cheapest on Uninor.

According to the new plans by Uninor, Facebook is at Rs. 0.5 per hour and Rs. 1 for a day of Whatsapp.

The Whatsapp and Facebook plans are starting with Gujarat, and will be followed with Maharashtra and Goa shortly. The plans will be extended to all of Uninor’s circles within a month.

Is the offer from Uninor terrible?

Both Facebook and Whatsapp are the most popular services in the country and a massive hit too. Facebook which is the most popular social networking company in the country has more than 93 million active users and WhatsApp which is also the most popular messaging app in the country reported that it has more than 40 million active users on the app.

WhatsApp which expects to hit the one billion mark in India by the end of 2014, was acquired by Facebook last month for a jaw dropping figure of $19 billion.

With India seeing a massive proliferation of smartphones in recent times, Facebook and WhatsApp are surely two services that are a big hit in the country. And Uninor offering cheap data plans for these services is a rational move. Sooner or later operators have to adopt these kinds of customized data plans to suit the browsing habits of the user to keep them hooked to their network.

While it may be argued that such pricing may make costing expensive for other Internet services such as Twitter, Google Plus, etc. but then the masses are yet to get a hang of them. Besides it is also not creating a situation where operators are pushing for their preferred services, at least I don’t think that any operator would like to offer Rs. 0.5 per hour for Google Plus.

Even though such tie ups are being formed with a handshake between Internet companies and operators, like the parent group Telenor  which has a global partnership with Facebook and Whatsapp to create products which are better than market tariffs and co-market the offering, I don’t see people minding it.

Apparently, this as a progressive move, making data cheap and allowing customers opt for services they would like to use. Going further we will see more operators follow suit and make it easy for the customer to browse the Internet depending on her consumption needs.

Why would someone pay a heavy monthly rental for data when the need is just to touch base with her friends on WhatsApp?