Text messages cost operators little to nothing to send through their networks, yet they charge some pretty hefty fees for customers to use them. Looking to get around that problem, WhatsApp was born. It’s an application that uses your data connection to send messages and it works extremely well because it runs on nearly every operating system on the planet; it even works on Nokia’s feature phones! Samsung, looking to copy that success, created ChatON last summer. Like WhatsApp, it works on damn near every mobile OS under the sun, even Samsung’s feature phones, but Windows Phone has been a glaring omission. Today that changes. Considering how many Windows Phones Samsung has in their portfolio, and how little attention the market seems to giving Microsoft’s platform, we’re surprised that they’d even bother porting ChatON to Windows Phone … but hey, better to have it there than not.
The bigger question here is what are operators going to do now that companies are attacking one of their primary sources of revenue? Apple’s got iMessage, Samsung has ChatON, Android has Google Talk, Microsoft will likely integrate Skype into their platform, all that means we’ll soon be living in a world where the only time you’ll have to pay for a text message is when you want to contact the one or two people you know who refuse to upgrade from their ultra low end feature phone. If you’re Vodafone or Verizon, you’re not too freaked out because you’re increasing the price of your data plans, but are those price increases keeping up with the amount of cash that’s being siphoned off by data enabled messaging?
RIM’s BlackBerry platform has BlackBerry Messanger, and operators weren’t scared of it, so maybe we’re blowing this out of proportion. Still, we can’t help but think that operators are going to find a way to not only make up their money, but somehow figure out how to raise their rates yet again.
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