WhatsApp, the hugely popular cross-platform messaging service, is bringing its paid subscription model to iOS. The company hasn’t yet confirmed when the move take place, but it will “definitely” happen during 2013. When that time comes, you’ll need to pay $0.99 a year to use the service.
WhatsApp, which charges a small fee to avoid advertising, already charges its users $0.99 a year on other platforms, including Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone. But on iOS, users have been able to use the service for as long as they like for a one-time download fee.
That’s going to change before the year is out, according to WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum, who confirmed the news during an interview with Dutch journalist Alexander Klopping.
“We’re relaxed on dates, but definitely this year. It’s on the road map,” Koum said.
Don’t worry if you’re already a WhatsApp user; the subscription model will only apply to new users, according to TechCrunch, who obtained a copy of Klopping’s interview in English. And new users are likely to get the first year free, as they do on other platforms.
It’s unclear why WhatsApp has decided to make the change, but according to Koum, the company wants to keep things simple. Using the same purchasing model across all platforms will certainly help it do that.
WhatsApp currently transmits more than 17 billion messages a day, and the service has more than 100 million users on Android alone. It first landed on iOS way back in January 2010, and it’s rarely fallen out of the top ten in the App Store’s paid chart.