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Social Media News - Facebook’s plans for WhatsApp: How it affects you

The social media world was shocked a few weeks ago at the sheer amount of money that Facebook were willing to part with in order to acquire the messaging service WhatsApp.

After paying $19 billion for the service, people were anticipating Facebook to make wholesale changes, but in cliché terms “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Despite not making a huge amount of changes, there are plans to add free voice-call services for its 450 million customers later this year.

This will lay down a new challenge for telecom network operators. It is aiming to let users make calls by the second quarter, and by doing this, it will expand its appeal to help hit a billion users. This will be the second voice feature to be added to WhatsApp after they rolled out voice messages in December, and by doing this, there could be a big power shift in the telecom industry.

Other companies such as Viber, Kik and Skype had already taken advantage of free calls, and with more firms taking on the telecom industry, there could be an interesting war in place. With the introduction of faster networking speeds due to 4G networks, it is a worrying period for the telecom industry. Free calls on a whole service for a smaller price will naturally be the more attractive route to go down for consumers, so it will be interesting to see what contingency plans are in place.

Jan Koum, the CEO of WhatsApp was speaking on Monday in Barcelona, and he was discussing the immediate impact of the sale to Facebook. He explained that WhatsApp now has 465 million monthly active users and 330 million daily users, which is an increase of 15 million since the news was announced that the company had been sold to the social media giant. He said “we couldn’t be more humbled by our growth,” and also went on to say that ironically it was the company’s birthday on Monday the 24th having been founded on February 24, 2009.

While there is an element of taking on the mobile carriers, WhatsApp is also working with them. The first partnership will be with e-plus to offer exclusive tariffs in order to operate the app. Again, ironically, disrupting the mobile communications economy has thrust WhatsApp back into the kinds of services that built out that economy in the first place.

This is the only announced change to the service yet, and Koum reiterated a key point for how the company will develop strategically. He stated that “there are no planned changes and we will continue to do what we set out to do, even after the acquisition closes.” He added that there is “still no marketing.”

With this change due to be introduced in the second quarter of 2014, it seems that Facebook are wasting no time in developing WhatsApp into a main threat to telecom companies around the world. It appears that there will be an interesting battle ahead.

Alex is an English Literature and Sociology undergraduate whose love for written word has led him to write about some obscure topics in his time. Currently a content writer at Social Media Frontiers, be sure to follow him @AlexSatSMF.

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Social Media News - Facebook’s plans for WhatsApp: How it affects you Reviewed by Unknown on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 Rating: 5
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