Messaging with Whatsapp use surges past world’s carriers

Published 20 June 2013 12:10, Updated 21 June 2013 06:56

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WhatsAppcan gleefully claim the title of the most popular smartphone messaging app in the world with latest analyst figures revealing it has moved more messages than mobile operators in any country, including China.

Chief executive of the four-year-old San Francisco-based start-up, Jan Koum, recently claimed the service has more users than Twitter and sends more messages than Facebook, and can also claim the title of moving more messages than the very companies that it relies on to function – mobile operators.

US-based voice and data communications analyst Chetan Sharma has found that in the past 12 months, Whatsapp moved more messages than providers in any country including those in the US and China.

This was despite having a miniscule base of 200 million users when compared to US and Chinese providers, which Sharma says, have approximately 1.5 billion subscriptions collectively.

SMS communication, a declining revenue raiser for telcos, would be relevant for the “forseeable future”, he added, but sending messages over the internet is where the growth would be.

“Once you have the IP connection, consumers will gravitate towards innovative solutions and be willing to fragment their communication behaviour across multiple apps,” he said.

Booming market

Whatsapp, which was free until recently, now charges US99¢ to download. In essence it allows smartphone users to send group and single messages to their friends who also have the app and are internet-connected. Its success is related to being cross-platform friendly and allowing users to avoid operator charges especially while travelling.

Its not the popular online messaging service though – the area is booming and big players are joining the party with Google touting Talk, Facebook launching Messenger and BlackBerry, which was ahead of its time with BlackBerry Messenger, recently announcing the application’s cross-platform availability.

Apple’s iMessage service works for iPhone users only and automatically switches to a text message if the user is offline or not an iPhone user. Apple CEO Tim Cook last year said 300 billion iMessages were sent on its iO6 platform.

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