WhatsApp ditches its annual $1 subscription to kill the SMS

I paid that dollar only once, and I suspect a lot of people didn’t pay a dime. Jan Koum’s argument sounds right, but I suspect the new goal is much more interesting for Facebook and WhatsApp.


SMS alerts from businesses are currently the only kind of text messages we get in Spain. WhatsApp is much more convenient for this -almost everybody uses WhatsApp over here- and the situation is identical in many other markets in which WhatsApp can kill SMS for ever.

I’d like to see other alternatives winning on this area -Telegram, Signal or Threema are nice ones-. WhatsApp hasn’t really grown much (in features) since it was acquired by Facebook, but it’s the de facto standard for instant messaging in many country , so that’s a battle we’ve already lost. We are replacing a telecom’s de facto standard -one which made them earn piles of money- with a propietary one from a company that likes to collect our data.

Not such a good deal.


Javier Pastor is a technology journalist that has been writing about tech since 1999. He started writing for PC Actual in Spain, the leading printed magazine in the country, and in 2006 started to write online. First as the Chief Editor for The Inquirer ES, and after that for MuyComputer until 2013. That year he became senior editor at Xataka, the leading tech news website in Spanish with over 5M uniques/month (Aug'15, comScore). Xataka is part of Weblogs SL, a blog network that gets over 40M uniques/month and that has a wide catalog of publications in Spanish. The Unshut is his new venture and allows him to express his opinions and thoughts on everything touched by technology, and follows what he has been doing at Incognitosis, his personal blog, since 2005.