Now that they have succeeded in winning the lion’s share of the P2P messaging market from mobile operators, Whatsapp has now announced that it intends to monetize its dominance of that market by providing corporate accounts to businesses, see blog posting here. Major organizations like KLM will be able to use Whatsapp to interact with customers and provide notifications on flights, delivery times and other updates.
It is interesting to note that Facebook’s two instant messaging platforms have adopted contrasting monetization strategies. While Messenger is now open for advertising as explained here, Whatsapp continues to avoid advertising and is instead heading down the mobile engagement route, providing interactive communications between enterprises and customers.
This new announcement should be triggering major alarm bells at mobile operators around the world. Stung by the loss of revenues from P2P SMS services as users have migrated wholesale to instant messaging apps, operators have pinned their hopes on continued revenues from A2P SMS services to help shore up their balance sheets. Whatsapp’s move follows previous initiatives by Viber, WeChat and other messaging apps, and shows that operator assumptions around continued A2P revenues cannot be taken for granted. Enterprises will use the channels that their customers are using, and if that channel provides a rich interface that can be used for ticketing, video and other media then all the better.
The loss of P2P revenues to instant messaging apps was due in large part to complacency on the part of mobile operators. They cannot afford to be complacent now. If they have not already done so, operators everywhere should be putting in place a compelling mobile engagement proposition to attract enterprises to use their mobile communications channels, not those provided by Whatsapp. They should be accelerating the rollout of RCS as an A2P platform so they can provide similar rich media capabilities and build new use cases for mobile messaging. Above all, they should be taking the initiative themselves and directly targeting all enterprises – small, medium and large – so that they retain mobile messaging as revenue-generating A2P communications platform and as a key component of their business operations into the future.
Openmind Networks is a global provider of A2P platforms for mobile and interconnect carriers. Our Engage Mobile Engagement Platform gives enterprise customers access to the full range of operator messaging channels. The platform is NFV-ready and can be deployed in public or private clouds. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.