Messaging apps have revolutionized communication and allowed people who are physically far away to get closer to each other. This success is due to the fact that apps are free, like WhatsApp, but this may be about to expire based on a recent announcement by mobile network operators.
WhatsApp is very present in people’s lives having more than 1 billion users around the world. To access the messenger, you must be connected to the Internet, either through wi-fi or through mobile data. In Brazil, operators’ data plans usually provide the ability to use the app without compromising the plan’s consumption.
This is likely to change soon, but it is not part of WhatsApp itself. Meta does not intend to charge you for downloading or using the app, you can relax about that. The change is, in fact, on the part of the main mobile operators operating in Brazil, as we will soon understand.
What is the proposal of mobile operators?
The three major mobile operators in Brazil have taken a stand on the end of free WhatsApp, something that can only be achieved through a zero-rating exercise. Currently, operators sell data packages with a consumption limit per plan. In order to attract more customers, the most frequently used applications can be accessed freely, without compromising data consumption.
However, Tim, Fivo, and Claro advocated an end to the practice. The operators claim that it is unsustainable to continue with the zero rating, given that the unlimited apps usage profile has changed. In the case of WhatsApp, there were other features implemented beyond exchanging messages, with calls and sending photos and videos consuming more data.
What happens, according to the companies, is that the new tools consume more data and thus generate an indefinite increase in the cost of maintaining the messenger. To avoid harm, operators are discussing internally the new rules that will affect WhatsApp and other popular apps, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok.
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Is this the final end for free WhatsApp?
If it depends on the mobile operators in Brazil, yes. Claro, Tim and Vivo representatives have already spoken publicly about this, so the end of the zero rating should happen soon. Experts in the field say that unlimited access to certain apps ends up hurting consumers.
According to them, it is a privilege that giant technology companies benefit from, and it harms competition with applications developed by national companies, for example. However, people don’t want to lose unlimited access to the apps they use most often.
Because data plans are agreed upon by contract, changes can only occur when the contract is renewed or the plans are offered to new customers.
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