WhatsApp was one of the first cross platform messaging apps that enabled iPhone users to chat with friends on BlackBerry, Android, Symbian and Windows smartphones. The company revealed last October it was handling 1 billion messages per day, and only four months later it was handling 2 billion per day, as noted at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
In a rare interview with Reuters, WhatsApp’s co-founder Brian Acton explained the company doesn’t seem themselves as a threat to SMS profits for carriers. Rather, Acton explains they are helping them sell data plans over the long term, as it is a requirement for WhatsApp to operate.
“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,” he said. “It’s all about the data.”
One internet traffic monitoring company, Allot Communications Ltd, noted WhatsApp accounted for 18 percent of instant messaging bandwidth, an increase of 3 percent from the previous year. There’s no question WhatsApp has affected the bottom line of SMS profits for carriers (throw iMessage into the mix and carriers have lots to lose). Those with data plans were able to ‘text message’ anyone else on the WhatsApp network without affecting SMS buckets or incurring extra charges. In a world without a data plan, most of our messaging and mobile surfing habits would thrown out the window. We’re hooked for life.