WhatsApp to scrap subscription fee

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MUNICH. — Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp will scrap its subscription fees and explore other ways to allow businesses to interact with its users to make up for the lost revenue, its co-founder said yesterday.

WhatsApp previously charged customers an annual subscription fee of $0,99 after their first year of using the service.

“It really doesn’t work that well in a lot of countries and we just don’t want people to think that their communications with the world will be cut off,” Jan Koum said at the Digital Life Design conference in Munich, Germany.

Mr Koum said many users don’t have a debit or credit card to allow them to pay for the service.

WhatsApp will start removing the fees from different versions of the app over the next several weeks, he said.

To recover the lost revenue, WhatsApp said this year it would start testing new business models that would allow organisations to communicate with individuals, at the request of the user.

“It’s still very early stages,” Mr Koum said.

He said the company is looking into which features would allow companies, such as American Airlines and Bank of America, to communicate efficiently with their customers through the app.

WhatsApp stressed that the change would not translate into introducing third-party advertisements or spam. — WSJ.