WhatsApp’s annual subscription fee of $0.99 was a minuscule price to pay for such a useful service, but now that close to a billion people from across the globe are reliant on it, WhatsApp has decided to do away with subscriptions entirely. The first year of WhatsApp has always been free, after which users would need to start paying the annual fee, but now it’s free forever, effective immediately. Instead, the company will try to monetize the messaging service by charging businesses to communicate with users, but even if that doesn’t work, the fact that it’s owned by Facebook means earning revenue isn’t actually WhatsApp’s top priority, which means it’s primary focus can be on accessibility and quality.
Nearly a billion people around the world today rely on WhatsApp to stay in touch with their friends and family. From a new dad in Indonesia sharing photos with his family, to a student in Spain checking in with her friends back home, to a doctor in Brazil keeping in touch with her patients, people rely on WhatsApp to be fast, simple and reliable. That’s why 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.
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