WhatsApp to extend yearly subscription model to iOS

By on March 19, 2013, 4:00 PM

Hugely popular mobile messaging platform WhatsApp is looking to make some changes to its pricing structure in the coming months. The service is currently free for the first year and then costs users a $1 yearly recurring fee, except on iOS where a single upfront payment of $.99 is required. But moving forward the company will switch to the subscription model as standard across all mobile platforms.

WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum revealed the plan to Dutch journalist Alexander Klöpping, saying that while there’s not set time frame for the change, it will definitely happen in 2013. When asked why the company was making the change now, Koum simply said they wanted "to keep things simple.”

It’s important to note that the new pricing will only apply to new users. Those who have already downloaded WhatsApp on iOS can continue using the service for the foreseeable future without the recurring charges.

Koum was also asked about a desktop client for the service but the CEO says they’re staying mobile-only.

WhatsApp passed 100 million downloads on Google Play in November and has remained among the top paid apps on Apple’s App Store in 119 countries for quite a while. The company has kept mum on actual download numbers per platform, but recently announced they’re serving 17 billion messages per day (7 billion inbound, 10 billion outbound). That’s up from 1 billion daily messages a year ago and easily bests iMessage’s 2 billion milestone revealed in January, which should give you an idea of the service’s reach.

Despite this -- or perhaps because of this -- WhatsApp has been heavily scrutinized and criticized for their inadequate security practices. Only as of August 2012 the company started encrypting messages sent over Wi-Fi and mobile networks. They’ve since addressed other issues related to authentication as well.

Free cross platform alternatives to WhatsApp include Line, GroupMe, Facebook Messenger, among others.




User Comments: 5

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Guest said:

>" When asked why the company was making the change now, Koum simply said they wanted "to keep things simple." "

Really, that's what they want to use an an excuse? 'Cause it definately isn't a reason.

Actually they just discovered that they can earn a few bucks more from if they charge everyone for the service. Simple.

sridoodla sridoodla said:

>" When asked why the company was making the change now, Koum simply said they wanted "to keep things simple.? "

Really, that's what they want to use an an excuse? 'Cause it definately isn't a reason.

Actually they just discovered that they can earn a few bucks more from if they charge everyone for the service. Simple.

Of course they want to make a "few" bucks. Serving 17 Billion Messages isn't made possible without equipment, hardware and loads of manpower.

And 1$ per year isn't really worth quibbling over.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

+1. I really don't mind paying for the service at all but the problem I have with Google Play is that they only accept credit cards in South Africa. I don't give out any credit card information AT ALL on the internet. For me, using my credit on the internet is not an option. I hope Google Play introduces alternative methods of payment pretty soon because my years free subscription with Whatsapp is almost up.

paytonpenn said:

+1. I really don't mind paying for the service at all but the problem I have with Google Play is that they only accept credit cards in South Africa. I don't give out any credit card information AT ALL on the internet. For me, using my credit on the internet is not an option. I hope Google Play introduces alternative methods of payment pretty soon because my years free subscription with Whatsapp is almost up.

What other methods could they realistically provide to people in South Africa?

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

What other methods could they realistically provide to people in South Africa?

I dunno... Maybe we could use Pay Pal, maybe it could be debited to our monthly contracts or even debited to air time if you're a prepaid user, maybe we could use debit cards. Hell, maybe we could even barter with blankets & seashells but I'm certainly not giving out any of my credit card information over the internet.

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