At last, WhatsApp is now completely free
WhatsApp announced today that it will drop its subscription fee to become an entirely free service. The company looks to replace lost income from this move by allowing businesses to use the service to communicate directly with users.
WhatsApp has, for some time now, charged users US$0.99 a year after the first year of use. The sum is small and many long-standing users were made exempt even from this charge, but now WhatsApp is dropping the fee entirely.
The change may take a few weeks to take effect across different versions of the app, and users who incur fees in the meantime unfortunately have no choice but to pay.
In a blog post, WhatsApp said that the reason for the move stemmed from concern for users who don't have access to a credit or debit card, or who have one but lack the funds at the time of the fee being requested, leading to a loss of access to the service.
With nearly a billion user globally, the source of revenue that WhatsApp can expect to see from even a small annual subscription fee is significant. To cover this loss, WhatsApp plans to charge businesses to contact its users directly, so long as users opt in.
If you already use WhatsApp, how do you feel about the decision? If you don't, are you now more likely to give it a try?