WhatsApp, a popular communication tool that links mobile numbers from contact lists, is one of the basic apps available to run on all leading smartphones. A suitable internet data plan is all that one needs to enjoy this app, which allows both individual and group chat.
In one line, Whatsapp is SMS on steroids that works well even with a low speed internet connection. Infact, Whatsapp is so popular in some circles that SMS is nearly an obsolete thing for them.
In India, smartphone users number a little over 24 million, which means only a fraction of the other 900 – million-plus subscribers can benefit from the power of WhatsApp.
Reliance Communications is trying to change the scene, with today’s announcement of an exclusive partnership with WhatsApp in India. All prepaid Reliance GSM subscribers can avail of unlimited use of WhatsApp and Facebook, with an extra fee of just Rs.16 per month.
A prepaid plan named ‘WhatsApp Plan’ and another named ‘My College Plan‘ aimed at students across India have been introduced. The student plan allows calls and SMS’s within a group at 5 paise and messages to entire groups at Rs. 3 by texting the message to 51112.
Making a Difference with the Future of Messaging
Reliance has reason to believe it can make a difference in the way we message our acquaintances, given the fact that it has over 154 million subscribers, trailing behind Bharti Airtel that stands at top position.
This partnership with WhatsApps is likely to help Reliance consolidate its grip on the telecom market; the move being consistent with the concept of frugal engineering in the mobile domain. Only a small minority of all users possess smartphones, and any attempt to bring the benefits of the more capable devices to the less capable ones is going to be welcomed by the public.
The non-smartphone market is here to stay in the near future, and app developers need to look for innovative ways to reach out to the huge cellular market in India, which includes rural users who account for over one-third of all subscribers.