- WhatsApp (FB +2.8%) is partnering with German carrier E-Plus to launch a €10 ($14) prepaid SIM card that provides unlimited access to its mobile messaging services (no data charges apply) to go with regular voice/SMS/data services. Even after the SIM credit is used up, WhatsApp remains available.
- Notably, the SIM card is provided under WhatsApp's brand, effectively making the startup an MVNO. With an estimated 90% of German smartphone users having already installed WhatsApp, there's a large installed base to sell to.
- WhatsApp, used as an SMS replacement by a huge chunk of its 465M+ global MAUs, already has deals with 50+ carriers. Many of those deals, such as one with India's Reliance, provide unlimited WhatsApp usage for a small monthly fee. Facebook proper is looking to strike deals that provide free/subsidized access to its core services; the carrier response has been mixed.
- Meanwhile, a Facebook exec has told the Economic Times his company's Indian MAU base has topped 100M. That makes India (population 1.24B) Facebook's second-biggest market after the U.S. (182M MAUs). Brazil is #3 (83M), and Indonesia #4 (65M).
- Globally, Facebook had 1.23B MAUs at the end of 2013. Since then, the company's mobile MAU base has surpassed 1B.