WhatsApp to charge iPhone users 99c a year for service
POPULAR messaging service WhatsApp is to begin charging an annual subscription fee for users of its iPhone app, as the business looks to ramp its revenues.
The service, which is used as an app for iPhone, Android and other smartphones will become free to download instead of the 99c it costs at the moment, but it will then charge users 99c a year for the service.
The move brings its iPhone service in line with its Android business model.
The change will only affect new users of the service. People who bought the app for 99c will not be hit with the subscription rate.
WhatsApp has quickly become one of the most popular apps on smartphones with more than 250 million users worldwide.
Unlike a regular text messaging service, it allows people to send photos and messages to large numbers of people at the same time without being charged for every individual message
"We are updating our business model for new iPhone users going forward. As you know, we used to charge iPhone users a 99c one-time payment, while Android and other platforms had free service for the first year and paid 99c a year after that," the company said in a blog post.
"From now on, we've simplified our business model so that all users on all platforms will enjoy their first year of WhatsApp service for free, and only pay 99c per year after that.
"We feel that this model will allow us to become the communications service of the 21st Century, and provide you the best way to stay in touch with your friends and family with no ads getting in the way," WhatsApp added.