Will Growth of Viber or Whatsapp affect Telecom Service Provider?

venkatesan | July 24 - 2014

The rate of SMS are fading out in the market as more and more social media emerges in the market. People are shifting from operator provided services (SMS) to other value added service and mobile data depended apps like Facebook, Whatsapp etc. Apart from messaging, the industry has also witnessed an upswing of using VoIP calls rather than normal voice calls over mobile. The applications like Skype, Viber, Nimbuzz, Tango etc are dominating the market by providing free calls over the net and WiFi.

In this given Scenario, will this new apps like Viber or Whatsapp be a challenge for Telecom Service Provider?

The answer cannot be entirely ‘yes’ or entirely ‘no’ because quality of voice for VoIP call is not half the good in comparison with normal calls but the cost is half of it. Another main reason that blocks the domination of social media apps like Viber is that 3G Data networks are not widespread in the developing country like India.

The population of smartphone users in India is only 70 million but there are 900 million regular mobile users using the Telecom service. The loss due to tough competition with mobile messaging and calling apps is less than 5% of the total revenue generated by the major telecom operators in India. The revenue decline is 3 to 4% in US. Around 6 years back, Mexico earned 15% income via text messaging and now it is less than half of it.

The messaging or making a smart free call using the existing internet plan in the smartphones is getting popular day by day. People are able to share the multimedia and voice files for free. From among the 300 million global users, there are about 30 million US based Whatsapp users, 30 million China’s WeChat users, 25 million Netherland’s Nimbuzz users, 15 million Japan’s Line users, and 5 million Bharati’s Hike users.

Apart from all the cushions given to protect the homely text messages, one cannot deny the fact the performance of social media is developing each day. The telcos (India) is affected due to the rising popularity of social messaging services. If the quality of VoIP over internet can be improved then definitely it will be big challenge for the Telecom service providers. It all depends upon 3G connections which is slowly penetrating into the market.


  1. http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/telcos-revenue-focus-turns-to-messaging-apps-as-sms-fades-114012300985_1.html
  2. http://blogs.jpost.com/content/mobile-india
  3. http://telecomtalk.info/are-whatsapp-viber-a-real-threat-to-indian-telecom-operators-we-find-out/116075/
  4. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-21/whatsapp-shows-how-phone-carriers-lost-out-on-33-billion.html