Despite of Mark Zuckerberg’s statement from two years ago, when he said that Facebook is not a competitor, but a partner, the purchase of WhatsApp and the introduction of Internet.org, a controversial partnership with Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcomm, which resulted in a project which provided affordable access to selected Internet services in less developed countries such as India, were two moves that have been criticized by the telecommunications industry.
WhatsApp is a free application that relies on the internet and the users can send messages and make free calls to their friends who have installed WhatsApp on their smartphones. The users who connect to a wireless network are the luckiest ones, because they don’t need to consume the mobile data included in the monthly plan, which infuriates the carriers. “WhatsApp is competing with us, not only with messaging but with voice, too,” said Telefónica Chief Operating Officer José María Álvarez-Pallete last summer, at a telecommunications industry event. This company is well known in Latin America and likewise other carriers, it depends on revenue from voice and text. That’s why, a few months ago, Brazilian judge decided to temporarily suspend WhatsApp after receiving complaints from a telecommunications lobbying group.
Other carriers from South Africa are discontent because messaging applications are bad for their business and criminals avoid government surveillance because these programs benefit from a good encryption, which make chats very secure. MTN Group and Vodacom Group are the carriers that have declared war to WhatsApp, Skype, Viber and other messaging applications that are costing the country a lot of money, and the telecom regulator has even begun an investigation to see the impact of regulation on services.
WhatsApp is the application with the largest number of active users – 1 billion, while on Skype are spent 2 billion minutes a day on voice calls. However, there are companies that have teamed up with Facebook because it’s beneficial and they’ve increased their revenue from offering advantageous data plans. For example, Millicom International Cellular is doing great in Africa and Latin Africa, having 63 million subscribers who are enjoying the company’s promotions. In 2015, 33 percent of its subscribers have upgraded to fee-paying data plans, while Cell C, the South Africa’s No. 3 mobile company has attracted new users by offering Facebook and WhatsApp for free in some subscription packages.
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