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WhatsApp says they’re no threat to texting

Interesting stuff today. Apparently popular IM client Whatsapp, has stated that they are no treat to mobile phone carriers and the cash they earn from SMS Text Messages.

WhatsApp is the fastest growing mobile messaging service currently, and co-founder Brian Acton, said in an interview with Reuters that WhatsApp was helping carriers move their customers to data plans, which would be more profitable for them in the long term.

“I view it from the perspective that we’re facilitating a broad movement to data plans and the entities that provide those plans are the carriers, so they stand to benefit quite substantially. It’s all about the data.”

While carriers charge for individual texts, and photos or sound clips through MMS, whatsapp allows users to send text, audio, video, images, location and even share contacts over a data plan. All for the low, low price of $1 a year. WhatsApp accounted for 18 percent of instant messaging bandwidth in 2011 according to Internet traffic monitor Allot Communications Ltd, and Stefan Zehle, CEO of UK-based Coleago Consulting, has stated that mobile operators in Taiwan reported a 12 percent decline in SMS messages in 2011, a drop attributed directly to users switching to WhatsApp. Additionally, according to Ovum, a technology research consultancy, operators lost $13.9 billion in SMS revenue last year.

On the other hand, WhatsApp handled over a billion messages a day last October, 2 years after it launched. Today it has more than 2 Billion messages a day, with growth strong in the Netherlands and Spain in Europe, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in the Middle East and Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore in Asia.

WhatsApp is also keen on emphasizing that the service is more than just a way to send text messages cheap. Julia French, PR representative for the company stated “It’s more about the service we provide, including photos and multimedia.” WhatsApp is also available on almost every mobile OS out there, from Blackberry, to Android, iOS, and even Symbian and S40 devices, and more recently support for Windows Phone. RIM’s Blackberry messaging system on the other hand, only works on their own phones or software.

[button link=”http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/05/us-whatsapp-idUSBRE83401120120405″ style=”light_gray”]Reuters[/button]