WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, with nearly one billion users across multiple platforms. And today the makers of WhatsApp announced some news that ought to make all of those users pretty happy.
WhatsApp says that it will no longer charge any subscription fee to use its messaging app. Previously, WhatsApp was free to use on mobile for your first year, then it would cost $0.99 per year to continue using. The change will occur over the coming weeks as WhatsApp removes subscriptions from its various apps.
As for why this change is happening, WhatsApp says that it “found that this approach hasn’t worked very well.” Many users don’t have a debit or credit card number to pay for a $0.99 sub, says WhatsApp, and they were concerned that they’d no longer be able to chat with their loved ones. So now WhatsApp will remove subscriptions and those fears of losing touch with friends and family.
In place of subscriptions, WhatsApp will test ways that’ll let businesses and other groups communicate with you. WhatsApp promises that these messages will be from groups that you want to hear from. The company also says that it does not plan to begin implementing ads into its app, so if you were worried about ads appearing in your WhatsApp chats, you can breath a sign of relief.
WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook back in February 2014, and so it’s kind of surprising that it took this long for WhatsApp to ditch its subscription fee. The move will ensure that folks can continue to use WhatsApp beyond their first free year, meaning that they won’t jump ship to another service if they don’t have a credit or debit card to pay the subscription fee. WhatsApp’s next method of bringing in cash is adopting a way for businesses to join its messaging service and reach out to users, and it’ll be interesting to see how this feature actually works when it’s rolled out and how users react to it.