Originally published: September 12, 2012
Last updated: September 19, 2012 - 9:45pm
Mobile operator 3 Hong Kong will offer its subscribers a WhatsApp Roaming Pass for $8 ($1 USD) a month that gives them unlimited access to WhatsApp services without counting it against their data caps, or a $48 ($6.19 USD) daily pass offering unlimited WhatsApp use and 5MB of service in 78 destinations around the world.
WhatsApp, the popular texting app that has taken a huge chunk out of operators’ lucrative texting plans around the world, has been working to get closer to carriers. But this deal is worth paying attention to because if it succeeds in giving customers what they want while also helping carriers mitigate the margin-shaving effect of over the top services, it may be the future of mobile data plans. Instead of buying a bucket of bytes, what if users ended up buying a bucket of bytes and access to a few favorite apps? Then the mobile pricing looks more like an a la carte cable offering and less like forcing people to pay an arbitrary fee for a device ($40 for a smartphone!) in addition to the bucket of bytes as new plans from AT&T and Verizon do.
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