WhatsApp is planning to do away with the set subscription fees for accessing the services on the most popular instant messaging app in the world.
The Facebook-owned application introduced the fees a few years back that required users to subscribe via payment for the messaging service after the first year of free downloading and using WhatsApp. The announcement made on Monday at the Digital Life Design conference in Munich Germany, will see the users downloading the app with no future subscription fee requirement.
The co-founder of WhatsApp, Jan Koum, argues that despite the dollar charged for the app’s services being insignificant, the mode of payment is not ubiquitous. The co-founder says that many people around the world using WhatsApp cannot access credit card facilities and that cannot be a reason enough to cut off communication on the platform.
$0.99 for a year subscription on WhatsApp
Despite being an instant messaging app, WhatsApp offers its users a wide range of services apart from free one-on-one text messaging. Users on WhatsApp can as well engage in group messaging chats, make voice calls and also share multimedia files such as videos, images and audio files.
The app is downloaded freely from the various platform stores that include Windows Store, Play Store and App Store. WhatsApp users were entitled to one year free use of the app upon which they were required to subscribe for the app’s continuation of services via payment. For a year’s subscription, users were required to pay $0.99.There were also other subscription options where you could either pay $2.67 for three years or $3.71 for five years’ use of WhatsApp. The payment was to be done via Google Wallet or sending the URL payment which actually meant the involvement of credit or debit card facilities.
Apparently some users never got to experience the said subscription fees; clients who had been using the app since its inception were granted free lifetime service. If you had already subscribed for the service, unfortunately there won’t be a refund; however the subscription fees will stop henceforth.
What next for WhatsApp?
Now that WhatsApp has ceased the subscription fees, what’s their next move? With nearly a billion users, the removal of the subscription fee opens up an avenue for more people to join WhatsApp. This would imply an increased user base. According to a blog post from the Facebook-owned service, WhatsApp intends to generate revenue through communication services between businesses and the app’s clients.
Beginning this year, WhatsApp plans to introduce tools that would allow communication through calls and messages between users and business organizations for enquiries and making transactions. The WhatsApp Team has reiterated that it won’t engage in any form of advertisements’ ventures and the app would remain ad-free as it used to be.
WhatsApp founders designed and created the application with strict principles of not allowing ads on the platform. This is probably one of the key pillars of the app and they intend to stick to that. With the announcement having been made, there are a lot of expectations ranging from increased WhatsApp clientele base to heightened competition tactics from other rival messaging apps.