I paid WhatsApp: five years in advance shortly before it was free

whatsapp payment
i paid whatsapp: five years in advance shortly before it

Currently we do not conceive instant messaging as a paid service since platforms such as WhatsApp or Telegram offer their services free of charge, but the same was not the case before the smartphones. Given that Telegram has aroused some controversy with its future subscription, I decided to take a look back at when I paid for WhatsApp. Nothing more and nothing less than five year subscription. In advance.

Few applications have become essential at the level of WhatsApp, a software that is used to a greater extent than the phone itself. Its communication possibilities are its main claim, but there is another quality that ended up elevating WhatsApps above even SMS: the first ones are free, they are included in the Internet access. But at the beginning it was not like that, I can attest.

Paid on iOS; free to download and with subscription on Android

whatsapp payment

WhatsApp payments through Google Play. 2013

We have already forgotten that instant messaging used to come at a cost to the user: text messages were literally a bane; Therefore, any service that managed to match the speed of SMS, eliminating the cost by rebound, was a guarantee of success. Before WhatsApp, said success was carried by BlackBerry Messenger. Better known as BBM.

I was always surprised by the fact that business smartphones of the stature of BlackBerry were successful among younger users, even despite the fact that the company, and the operator, charged for the service on a subscription basis (the BIS, the BlackBerry Internet Service). Before the iPhone and Android became popular, the most wanted mobiles had a non-touch screen and physical QWERTY keyboard, the BlackBerry Curve 8520 and company. For one reason: all messages will be included in the BlackBerry Internet service.

I did not have a BlackBerry at the time of the BBM explosion, the business style did not convince me despite the messaging. I did buy the first iPhone, then the iPhone 3GS and my first Android, the mobile that made me fall in love with the system bought by Google: the HTC Magic. WhatsApp fell on my phones when hardly anyone knew about this application.

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My WhatsApp for iPhone purchase and billing date

A year and a half after its launch and when WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton sent me access to the Android beta, I also downloaded it on the iPhone. On iOS, WhatsApp put a paywall on the download (I bought it at 0.79 euros in August 2010); on Android the download was free, WhatsApp offered one year free and from then on it charged 0.89 euros (the first years the service was paid at $1.99I have receipts from 2010 and 2011).

whatsapp payment

My first payment for a year of WhatsApp. August 16, 2010

Yes, WhatsApp cost money before Facebook bought the app. I remember the complaints of the users for that almost euro that had to be paid through the application, about 0.89 euros that, in practice, almost nobody paid. WhatsApp’s tactic was to extend the payment without actually canceling the service (I don’t know anyone who had WhatsApp canceled at that time for not having paid the subscription).

WhatsApp charged 0.89 euros each year of use, but in reality almost no one paid: the company was extending the account without canceling it (even without charging)

Currently, the fact that Facebook Meta control WhatsApp, and make use of metadata as a benefit in its relationship with other companies, is seen as something negative, but when Zuckerberg’s company bought the messaging app, the picture was the opposite: joy was widespread at the fact that WhatsApp ended up being a 100% free application. By not continuing to pay those 0.89 euros per year, we have ended up selling our use. From my point of view, I think we lost out.

I paid for five years of WhatsApp two and a half years before it was free

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My receipt of August 7, 2013: five years of WhatsApp in advance (there was a discount doing it that way)

And without anyone in my environment ever paying for the application, I must add. I always had the opinion that a good service deserves a payment to match, after all, nobody works for free (or shouldn’t). And for me instant messaging is a basic pillar of our society; so much so that it is the main reason why the smartphone is currently a common object. And more: applications like WhatsApp made smartphones cheaper at today’s level.

Yes, I paid for WhatsApp and I don’t regret it. And I will surely pay for a subscription through Telegram, just like I pay for Twitter: if I take advantage of the app, and I consider that it adds significant value to my daily routine, I believe that offering a direct return to the developers is an act of justice. As long as the price is fair.

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Brian Adam
Professional Blogger, V logger, traveler and explorer of new horizons.