WhatsApp: the subscription fee has been cancelled forever

Koum_whatsapp freeThe year just started seems to be quite a promising one for WhatsAppers, since their beloved app has become completely free. Yes, finally WhatsApp users will never again have to pay the $0.99 annual fee, effective immediately. The news was confirmed by Jan Koum in person at the DLD conference in Bavaria.

So far, as you know, you could use the instant messaging app (the most used in the world, with over  900 million active monthtly users) for free just for the first year, and pay the subscription to keep on using it after that. With this recent decision even this small fee has been cancelled, allowing its many users to enjoy the app for free for ever. After this announcement the public is certainly puzzled, and now wonders how WhatsApp will be able to earn some money. According to Jan Koum, Facebook (which purchased WhatsApp in 2014 for $19bn) is going to help.

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The decision has been well explained in a blogpost posted on WhatsApp.com, where WhatsApp stated: “we’re happy to announce that WhatsApp will no longer charge subscription fees. For many years, we’ve asked some people to pay a fee for using WhatsApp after their first year. As we’ve grown, we’ve found that this approach hasn’t worked well. Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card number and they worried they’d lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service. Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today’s announcement means we’re introducing third-party ads. The answer is no. Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from.

So, what are these new tools if it’s true what Koum said at the DLD conference, where he confessed that “we haven’t written a single line of code yet“? We expect we won’t have to wait too much.