WhatsApp ditches its $0.99 subscription and will stay free

The popular chat app is ditches the annual subscription fees it charges new users, the company said Monday in a blog post. For the first time in three years, the service will be—and remain—free to use.
 Here’s what WhatsApp is saying about that, according to a company blog post:
Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today’s announcement means we’re introducing third-party ads. The answer is no. Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from. That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today – through text messages and phone calls – so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam.
“Many WhatsApp consumers don’t have a debit or credit card and they get worried they’d lose access to their Whatsapp after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.” 

And it promises to be ad-free too.

This strategy might sound familiar. It’s the same idea behind Facebook Messenger, the company’s other standalone messaging service. With Messenger, Facebook already offers users the chance to chat with businesses, and it’s building out other features, like payments or the ability to hail a ride through Uber.

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