Cross-platform instant messaging app WhatsApp has tied up with telecom operator Airtel to provide special WhatsApp only data packs, according to a BGR report. Depending on the circle, the plan costs between Rs 36 and Rs 49 and offers 200MB of WhatsApp only data usage on a monthly basis. To activate the plan, Airtel subscribers can text 'WhatsApp' to 121.
In India, the company already provides similar plans with Tata Docomo, RCom and Uninor. WhatsApp competes with Hike, which had earlier signed a deal with Airtel to allow its prepaid customers to use the service without any data charges for three months.
Last month, WhatsApp claimed to have crossed the 500 million monthly active users mark. Out of this, a fifth or 100 million users were added in the last four months alone. India accounts for almost 10 per cent (9.6 per cent to be exact) of the total user base of WhatsApp.
In terms of competition, as of December 2013, Japanese firm LINE Corporation, which owns and operates the free call and messaging app LINE had crossed the 300 million users mark globally, out of which 15 million came from India. Bharti Softbank-backed Hike and Viber also claimed to have 15 million registered users as of Feb this year.