It's no secret that over-the-top messaging providers like Viber, WhatsApp and Line are commanding an increasing share of mobile users' messaging traffic--a lead that has cut into operators' SMS revenues. Further, OTT players are rushing to expand their offerings to include movies, books and, in some cases, voice calling services. In response, European wireless operators are in the midst of finding ways to partner with OTT messaging providers in order to find some common ground.
Tango, the company behind the popular over-the-top messaging and social app of the same name, raised $280 million in new funding, mostly from the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. The new funding underscores the heightened interest in mobile messaging and OTT services, especially in the wake of Facebook's $19 billion deal to acquire WhatsApp.
Google will drop its Google Voice service and move most of its functionality into its Hangouts apps for both Android and iOS, according to a 9to5Google report, which did not cite its sources.
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.