German mobile operator E-Plus and mobile messaging company WhatsApp plan to offer a prepaid cards with WhatsApp option. Under the partnership, any texts, images or videos sent via WhatsApp will not be deducted from the customer’s purchased data. When the customer’s credit has run out, he or she will still be able to use WhatsApp.
This upcoming offer, available next month, underscores two facts of the current mobile marketplace: one, that WhatsApp’s market position—and hence, its desirability as a partner to MNOs—has been strengthened by its impending acquisition by Facebook, and two, that operators are getting more creative and wide-ranging with their prepaid options. For E-Plus, bringing the OTT messaging service under its wing makes WhatsApp a potential driver of business to the operator rather than a complete drain. And, as we have reported recently, customers, particularly in Europe, are increasingly looking for the flexibility of prepaid. In another move to satisfy this sector, E-Plus announced this week that it is eliminating roaming charges within the EU for its prepaid customers.