WhatsApp, the cross platform mobile messaging app owned by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) announced that it will no longer charge subscription fee to users. The company is charging a $0.99 annual subscription fee to users after the one-year free trial period.
In a blog post, the company said many of its users who do not have a debit or credit card are worried that they may no longer use the service to communicate with their family and friends after the first year of using it.
During the DLD conference in Munich, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum explained that they don’t want people to think that their communication will be cut off at some point.
The company will start removing fees from the different versions of its app over the next several weeks. WhatsApp clarified that its decision of making its service free does not mean it will introduce third-party apps.
WhatsApp will test tools to provide its service free
The mobile messaging app provider said, “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. That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight.”
“We all get these messages elsewhere today – through text messages and phone calls – so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam,” according to the company.
Facebook acquired WhatsApp for approximately $19 billion in 2014 as part of its initiative to increase its market share across mobile devices. Currently, the mobile messaging app has almost one billion users worldwide. CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously stated that WhatsApp can connect 3 billion people in partnership with Facebook.
The social network giant has another free, standalone messaging service–Facebook Messenger, which has around 500 million monthly users.