WhatsApp gains more traction in India

Facebook-owned mobile messaging service WhatsApp has struck its fourth carrier deal in India, extending its services further into the territory through a contract with Bharti Airtel.

The carrier this week introduced mobile data packages tailored to WhatsApp usage, allowing both 2G and 3G users to buy 200MB of application specific data by texting a shortcode to the operator.

WhatsApp has similar existing deals in place with Reliance Communications, Tata Docomo and Uninor and claims some 50 million users in India.

In April WhatApp announced that half a billion people around the world are now regular, active users.

“In the last few months, we’ve grown fastest in countries like Brazil, India, Mexico, and Russia, and our users are also sharing more than 700 million photos and 100 million videos every single day,” the company said.

In February, Facebook agreed to acquire WhatsApp for an eye watering $19bn, in what some billed as the largest startup acquisition in web history.

Subsidised application access is a key driver for OTT services in India. Last year Twitter moved in with a similar deal and struck a contract with Reliance Communications to effectively subsidise data access for a limited period of time.

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