WhatsApp just surpassed 300 million users worldwide.
In the last four months alone, the mobile messaging app has acquired 100 million users. Users are also now sending 11 billion messages per day, up from 8 million daily in April.
WhatsApp has recently made a concerted effort to attract new users from emerging markets. For example, it has offered residents in Southeast Asia an option to pay a small fee for a data-light version. This allows low-income mobile users to circumvent monthly carrier data fees.
The app is free on most platforms, but charges users 99 cents after one year of use. This business model draws consumers in. The fact that there’s no distracting ads helps WhatsApp retain users. WhatsApp founders have famously said they’re anti-ads and will never include them in the app.
WhatsApp has overtaken China’s immensely popular WeChat, which has an impressive 300 million registered users but only about 195 million that are active. It is also ahead of Line (200 million users), Viber (200 million), and even Skype (280 million).
The large user numbers across services are a clear signal of the overall popularity of OTT (over-the-top) messaging (messaging that goes over the Internet via data connections rather than carrier-controlled networks), and its staying power. OTT messaging threatens cell carriers, who lose voice and text revenue, and social networks like Facebook — which have not been able to maintain control of the messaging market.
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