Going ahead mobile messaging apps and telco companies will prosper if they work together. The telco companies took a while to realize that their dominance is slowly eroding with the influx of messaging apps like – WhatsApp, WeChat, Viber among others. Nevertheless in a recent announcement reported by BGR, WhatsApp tied up with Airtel to provide special WhatsApp only data pack.
Not only that WhatsApp, the world’s most popular messaging app which is now under Facebook after the buyout in February, has reported to have 50 million monthly active users in India. The recent update comes close on the heels after the April announcement by CEO Jan Koum when he shared that WhatsApp had 48 million active users in India alone, its largest single country.
In the month of February, WhatsApp had revealed that it has 40 million active users in India. On an average, the app has been adding 5 million active users every month so one can hope that by end of 2014 the app witnesses a billion users from India itself.
Additionally the operator tie up with Airtel in the country will depend on the circle, the plan costs between Rs. 36 and Rs. 49 and offers 200MB of WhatsApp only data usage. Airtel subscribers can text ‘Whatsapp’ to 121 to activate the plan.
— airtel India (@airtelindia) May 11, 2014
This is the fourth operator tie-up from WhatsApp. Initially it had worked similar deals with Tata Docomo, RCom and Uninor.
The first operator tie-up was with the Reliance wherein WhatsApp was launched for its GSM subscribers as part of a promotion and considered to be a success. Thereafter WhatsApp tied with Tata Docomo to offer unlimited WhatsApp usage to its subscribers at Rs. 15 for 15 days. Later on Uninor announced a deal with Facebook and Whatsapp where it offered the services at fixed costs rather than on usage.
The move from WhatsApp is a rational one considering the country is seeing a proliferation of smartphones. But the interesting bit is that Airtel has agreed to partner with WhatsApp, when some time back Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal had asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to regulate messaging apps like WhatsApp. TRAI had quashed the demands and stated that the messaging apps are following the rules of the country.
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