Facebook just rocked the social media world last week with its announcement that Facebook bought WhatsApp, the world’s biggest texting service, for $19 billion dollars. Jan Koum, WhatApps co-founder and chief executive officer, continued to add more buzz after the deal when he made an announcement from Barcelona Mobile World Congress today. WhatApps will add voice calls to its product services in the second quarter of this year, according to a breaking Reuters report Monday afternoon.
It was rumored last week when the deal closed that Facebook would want to see new features added to its new member and price accordingly. So, today WhatsApp announced it will be adding free voice calls to the $1 a year app.
While speaking today in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress, Jan Koum, announced that anyone who downloads the chat app to their phones on Android and iPhones this spring will have for $1 a year the ability to use it on their mobile phone. Later sometime it will be made available on Blackberry, Microsoft and Nokia phones.
What this means to the telecom’s revenue is a gap in their income after WhatApps took $120 billion in texting revenue in 2013.
‘The social messaging market is growing rapidly, with messaging volumes expected to reach 69 trillion with subscribers growing to 1.8 billion by the end of 2014,’ according to researcher Ovum’s forecasts.
WhatsApp competitors are South Korea's KakaoTalk and China's WeChat who have made a gaping hole in revenue stream from mobile phone companies, also tracked by Ovum.
‘We are driven by the mission that people should be able to stay in touch anywhere and affordably. Our goal is to be on every mobile phone in the world,’ Koum said to the audience at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Raul Castanon-Martinez, senior analyst of cloud and mobile apps at Yankee Group, said that the addition of voice calling makes sense. ‘I remember hearing rumors about it in the second half of 2013,’ he told ABC News. ‘It even may have made it more attractive to Facebook [to acquire].’
Look for more changes as Koum sees WhatApps as a partner to telecom operators and not simply a competitor. He has already begun partnering and announced a partner program with KPN's E-Plus under which it will launch a WhatsApp branded mobile service in Germany.
The rumors of last week are now beginning to make sense in money and the future of the Facebook-WhatApps deal.
To view more articles on Facebook, WhatApps and related technology see the list below in Author’s suggestions and view the video atop this article about WhatsApp top ten most fascinating facts!
You can find me on twitter at Victoria Wagner@Victoriaross888