SMS has been extortion on subscribers; WhatsApp will not be regulated

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Apparently, the fear of WhatsApp is a big thing among mobile operators here and there. CCTV reports that some South African mobile operators are calling on the government to regulate Over-The-Top (OTT) content services such as WhatsApp and Skype in the country. Elsewhere, operators have threatened to block WhatsApp and similar services recently. Operators in Nigeria too have groaned about OTT services stealing revenue from their SMS, as well as voice, services.


While the networks complain that OTT services steal revenue from them, that isn’t completely true. OTT services use data, which the networks bill for. The ugly truth is that SMS has been overpriced all the while. SMS runs on excess capacity that a network has, and uses up an infinitesimally small amount of data, yet subscribers are charged heavy rates for it. What WhatsApp, BBM and Skype have done is level the playing ground, tariff wise. That tiny amount of data that a basic text WhatsApp message uses is more like what an SMS uses. The operators have been raking in tons of easy money through SMS.

Sending an SMS costs a mobile network next to nothing, yet subscribers are extorted for it. The operators can groan, complain and wish all they like, but we are certain that subscribers will win this battle. WhatsApp and similar services will not be regulated. At least, one can hope that no government will be that stupid as to let it happen.


  1. I wonder which one come be their own for inside,I used my hard earned money to buy data bundles from them to use for my own purposes,they turned around and started screaming blue murder about being ripped off..smh

  2. Notice the countries that are trying to regulate WhatsApp and Instant Messaging are the ones still charging per SMS, which no decent post paid offerings or contracts and the majority of whose clients are on Pay-as-you-go.

    Meanwhile elsewhere, texts are unlimited, data is king. People pay via post paid contract, and the networks are trying to get people to take out even better data plans by bundling “unlimited” calls and texts.

    So basically these networks have sat down and decided the likes of WhatsApp, Skype, BBM etc are taking MILLIONS away from them (never mind they’re making a healthy profit at the end of the day). How do they figure this out? Calculate the local users and multiply that by the number of messages that are sent every day via IM. Translate those messages into the network charge per SMS and you see why they are crying. Wasted tears though.

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