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WhatsApp Goes Free in India

HYDERABAD, NOVEMBER 5

WhatsApp will continue to offer its service for free to users in developing countries like India. Vice-president for business development Neeraj Arora stated that low debit and credit card penetration was the main reason for not collecting the $1 annual fee the service charges users in North America and Europe.

While it’s not too much to pay $1 for using something like WhatsApp which has 600 million subscribers, Neeraj Arora, Vice-President of WhatsApp, said that WhatsApp is not enforcing the fee in India as it is still not easy to pay for it due to multiple ecosystem and low penetration of payment models.

“Monetization is on the cards. It will happen over the next few years. We believe in the subscription model and not in advertising as people do not like to have ads as they converse.”

One way WhatsApp could charge users in the subcontinent is by tying up with carriers and collecting subscription charges from offline channels. WhatsApp already works with carriers in bundling data plans that do not charge users for the service, which has a user base of 70 million in the country

On cutting into the SMS business of telecom operators, he said the company has asked them to tie up with WhatsApp as they could sell more data with more and more people getting onto WhatsApp.

“They understood the point. We have tied up with five telcos in India,” he said.

WhatsApp does not have advertising tie-ups. “We believe in the subscription model and not in advertising as people do not like to have ads as they converse,” he explained.

Courtesy :  The Hindu

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