If you’re not using WhatsApp but are planning to do so, your first question might be, “Is it free to use?”
This is understandable; after all, who wants to use an app that will cost them a whole lot of money, right?
Well, technically, the answer to your question is, “Yes”. You don’t need to pay anything to download WhatsApp from its official website or from app stores like iTunes, Google Play Store, or Opera Mobile Store. You also don’t have to pay a subscription fee to use the app. WhatsApp used to offer people a free one-year trial period then charged them $0.99 USD after the first year ended, but the company changed its pricing system in January 2016 to cater to those who don’t have a debit or credit card. Now, it’s completely free to use the messaging application even after you’ve passed your first year as a WhatsApp user.
Still, it’s important to remember that WhatsApp isn’t completely free from charges. Even if the app itself is technically free to use, you will still be consuming data when you chat with your friends or speak with them through voice calls using WhatsApp. Because of this, you’ll need to have an unlimited data plan if you want to use the app as your main mode of communication. Otherwise, you’ll easily go over your data cap and end up paying a hefty additional charge to your mobile phone carrier.
“So does this mean that I’ll be bombarded with ads when I use WhatsApp?” you might ask. This might seem to be the scenario now that WhatsApp no longer charges subscription fees, but the people behind it says this won’t be the case. In a blog post, the WhatsApp team assured users that they won’t introduce spam and third-party ads in the app, but they will be testing tools that will allow users to communicate with businesses they may want to hear from. We can assume that these businesses may have some sort of agreement to pay WhatsApp a monthly/yearly subscription fee or pay them on a per-message basis. If this works out, WhatsApp will be able to generate revenues without having to bombard its users with advertisements.
There’s no telling until when this could work for WhatsApp. For now, though, its users can rest in the fact that they can enjoy the messaging app without any fees and without having to deal with pesky and unwelcome ads.