11 November, 2014

WhatsApp to be free for Indian users: Report

WhatsApp, the popular Facebook -owned instant messaging service has always been free for a year, and beyond it users need to shell out a nominal $1 a year fee to further use it. However, there could be some good news for Indian users as Neeraj Arora, its VP told the students at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad that the service will be free for Indian users. A Deccan Chronicle report quoted him claiming that the $1 annual fee will not apply to its users in India.

Reportedly, WhatsApp will not charge Indian users due to the lack of credit and debit card penetration in the country. If it does so, it will risk loosing users in the country. At the moment, the service has 70 million active users, which comprises 1/10th of WhatsApp's total user base.

According to a report by the Hindu Business Line, Arora also believed that Indians could build the next WhatsApp. A former alumnus of IBS Hyderabad he said, " Indians have it in their DNA to build the next WhatsApp for the world."

Recently, the service added a new blue double tick feature , which indicates a received message. There has been some user backlash regarding this feature, as many users have grown used to the old system and some prefer the fact that message delivery receipts are not sent back to the sender of a message.

Last year, the service was acquired by social networking giant Facebook for a whopping $19 billion.

In the instant messaging space, WhatsApp reigns supreme but it does face competition from Google's Hangouts, SnapChat, We Chat, Line and Skype QIK.