WhatsApp, one of the most popular messaging app on smartphones, today announced via Twitter that it processed over 18 billion messages on New Year Eve! Users sent a staggering 7 billion messages that were delivered to 11 billion. I did a quick poll on Twitter yesterday and it turns out that many users in India received majority of their new year greetings via WhatsApp rather than SMS.
WhatsApp has been pretty secretive about its user base so far but we expect them to reveal some numbers and usage platforms sometime this year as it is no longer a niche app and has become one of the few apps like Twitter and Facebook that almost every smartphone user has on their device. Last year WhatsApp struck a deal with RCom for a WhatAapp-only data plan that provided subscribers unlimited WhatAapp access for Rs 16/month. We expect more carriers in India and most of the developing world to embrace WhatsApp and announce similar subscription plans later this year.
There were also rumors about the company being acquired by Facebook, which eventually turned out to be wrong. Facebook launched its own WhatsApp competitor in the form of Facebook Messenger. WhatsApp is available for free on most platforms but iOS but the company made even the iOS app free for the Holidays, which could have bumped up the numbers.