WhatsApp subscription to remain free in India for some time
Without the shadow of a doubt, Indians love WhatsApp. The app which has definitely replaced SMS as a mode of communication, it seems, is trying to substantially increase its footprint in India. The company has brought out news that will definitely make many Indians jump with joy – it won’t be charging any amount for service renewal, at least for the immediate future!
WhatsApp, which has, besides becoming much more than a messaging service, become the favorite pastime for Indians is now free for life.
Neeraj Arora, Vice-president, WhatsApp Inc., stated at a conference at his alma mater, Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, “Monetization is on the cards, advertising lends itself to products which are more public. The day you put ads on WhatsApp, others such as Viber would take over. The reason why it (WhatsApp) is so popular is because it is ad-free.
If we are like a utility, people will pay (the $1 annual fee). But the mode of payment needs to be convenient.”
The interesting thing to note is not that Arora does not want WhatsApp to become Viber, but that he has compared WhatsApp to utility i.e. stuff such as electricity. While you weren’t noticing, WhatsApp has quietly crept into your life and made a place for itself.
Going by Arora’s words, WhatsApp will only avert to the $1 paid subscription model, when they are convinced that its $70 million consumer base will have active debit and credit lines to make payment easily, the way it happens in US and Europe.
He is most probably banking on the current government’s stand, which aims to bring all Indians into the banking system.