Popular mobile messaging service, WhatsApp, today revealed to WSJ that it has crossed 250 million monthly active users. This is the first time the company has revealed its user base, only hinting earlier this year that it had more active users than Twitter. Earlier this month it broke its own records by delivering over 27 billion messages in a single day, probably making it the biggest non-carrier driven mobile messaging service. Also Read - WhatsApp is now processing 64 billion messages in a dayAlso Read - WhatsApp now has 300 million monthly active users, over 20 million in India
Started four years ago, the messaging service gained immense popularity in the past couple of years after releasing clients across smartphone platforms including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and even Nokia’s S40 feature phone platform. WhatsApp had been rumored to be holding acquisition talks with both Google and Facebook, which the company had denied. Also Read - WhatsApp sends and receives 20 billion messages daily, has more active users than Twitter
Messaging apps for smartphones are fast replacing traditional text messaging and even IM services from online giants like Google and Microsoft. Google is hoping its Hangout app, which started out as an IM service for Google+ but now has Google Talk too, would be its ticket to success in the mobile messaging space. Facebook too entered the fray with its own Messenger service that was recently delinked from the Facebook app and launched as a standalone app with an interesting Chat Head feature that works out of the dedicated app and lets users chat while using other apps. Even local players like Hike, WeChat and others are hoping to cash in but are finding it difficult to get the kind of traction, minutes of use and active users like WhatsApp.
Mobile messaging services like these are becoming a point of pain for carriers for whom traditional SMS services were highly lucrative. However, of late many carriers are tying up with these new-age third party messaging apps and have started offering app specific data plans to subscribers who do not want to subscribe to a generic data plan.