What is WhatsApp? As my friend Ben Evans said a few weeks ago in Forbes, it’s “the biggest social network you’ve never heard of.”
WhatsApp is a cross-platform smartphone app that lets you send text and picture messages for free, using your data allowance. There are dozens of these services, referred to by telcos as ‘OTT’ (Over The Top) services if they’re feeling polite, ‘parasites’ if they’re grump and ‘arbitrage services’ (since they let you arbitrage between SMS and data pricing) if they’re being precise. BBM (Blackberry Messenger), with 60m users, is perhaps the most generally known, but WhatsApp is one of the biggest.