BARCELONA, Spain--Wireless operators for years have been worrying about over-the-top service providers. Indeed, OTT services are the main reason that wireless carriers in the United States and elsewhere launched unlimited calling and texting pricing plans--they were a way to remove the leverage that services like iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger had over users. Why shift your communications to WhatsApp when your wireless carrier already offers unlimited calling and text messaging?
BARCELONA, Spain--WhatsApp plans to introduce voice calling services sometime in the second quarter, the company's CEO announced here during a keynote appearance at the Mobile World Congress trade show. The announcement is notable coming just a week after social networking giant Facebook announced it will acquire WhatsApp in a $16 billion deal.
Facebook's $16 billion deal for over-the-top messaging service WhatsApp likely will not have a major impact on U.S. carriers and other Western operators because most have begun offering unlimited voice and text messaging. However, the action could put pressure on carriers in emerging markets, according to industry analysts.
Facebook announced it will acquire over-the-top mobile messaging company WhatsApp for a whopping $16 billion. The purchase pushes Facebook more firmly into the mobile and messaging market, where it has already stamped out a huge business via mobile ads and its previous $1 billion acquisition of photo-sharing service Instagram.
Japanese retailer and e-commerce company Rakuten, which owns Kobo e-readers and online retailer Play.com, is acquiring Viber Media and its popular Viber over-the-top messaging service for $900 million.
Including more Internet companies in the GSMA membership would get the carriers out of an insular mindset that treats over-the-top players as enemies. On the flipside, social networking and media distribution companies would benefit from having a seat at the table with wireless carriers.
TIA 2013 may be an offshoot of the Supercomm event, but this show is nothing like its predecessor. FierceTelecom chronicles the top trends that dominated discussion.
Many media reports over the last 12 months have presented a picture that OTT messaging apps are cannibalizing SMS use and that carriers are losing billions in SMS revenue. But Portio Research has found this to not be completely true. It is true that some SMS markets, including the U.S. market, have peaked and shifted into a decline phase, and growth in some other markets has leveled off, but many other SMS markets around the world are still enjoying solid growth.
Home automation providers including Verizon are increasingly partnering with other broadband service providers to reach customers outside their market footprint, a new study from Infonetics Research says.
Sprint and AT&T Mobility both appear to be preparing their networks for a launch of RCS-based messaging services, which the GSMA and some European carriers are promoting through the "joyn" brand. However, it remains unclear exactly how Sprint and AT&T will launch their respective services, and whether they too will offer them under the "joyn" brand.