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WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging service that can be downloaded for free on your mobile phone and on your computer, either as a web service or a native desktop client. It is compatible with both Android and iOS platforms.

What is so interesting about WhatsApp other than the fact that it allows you to send text messages and make phone calls for free?

  • It was founded in 2009 by former Yahoo employees Jay Koum and Brian Action.
  • It was named WhatsApp because it sounded like “Whats Up”.
  • The developers of WhatsApp spent nothing on marketing, but earned $19 billion when it was acquired by Facebook. $2 billion more than NASA’s annual budget for 2014.
  • Google paid to offer $10 billion for WhatsApp. Good thing Koum and Action waited for a better offer.
  • There are now more than 800 million active users on WhatsApp as of April 2015. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since the app will run without a SIM card.
  • Which started as a two-people project is now a company that employs 55 people.
  • WhatsApp is now available in 32 languages for Windows Phones, BlackBerry, Nokia, Apple and iPhone.
  • WhatsApp generates revenue through subscription fees from users. In some countries, only the first year is free, while the succeeding ones will have an annual charge of $0.99 to $1, which is basically free compared with chargers on regular SMS and calls.
  • 30 billion messages are sent and received on WhatsApp daily as of January 2015.
  • On a daily basis, more than 1 million users register on WhatsApp.
  • Argentina has the most number of WhatsApp users at 84%.
  • WhatsApp text has been used as evidence by 40% Italian divorces.
  • The popular messaging app service had a love-hate relationship with the iOS app store and the Windows store. It was removed one day and then re-added days and years later, respectively.

What does this all mean to mobile phone users?

They have another option for staying connected at little to no cost. What’s $1 for an annual subscription, anyway?

What does this mean to telecom companies?

Major loss in revenue.

In April 2015, Forbes predicted that between 2012 and 2018 telecom companies will lose about $386 billion to OTT apps, including WhatsApp. This prediction is a lot closer to the truth with some companies blocking or restricting the use of WhatsApp and similar messaging app. Morocco has already started, citing licensing requirements as a reason for restricting the use of VoIP services. But this may be related to revenue as well.