Mobile operator 3 Hong Kong has tied up with popular smartphone instant messaging app developer WhatsApp to offer unlimited access to the chatting app in Hong Kong and in 78 markets via 93 networks.
Under the partnership, customers of 3 HK - the mobile arm of Hutchison Telecommunication Hong Kong (HTHK) - can gain unlimited access to WhatsApp locally with a monthly fee of HK$8, with no extra data charges incurred.
The operator also offers a HK$48 daily roaming plan which enables customers to use WhatsApp functionality at 78 destinations via 93 networks. The “WhatsApp Roaming Pass" also comes with a 5MB of roaming data usage will be offered to subscribers to meet their needs when traveling, the companies said.
Amy Lung, HTHK’s managing director of mobile, said the two service plans launching on September 18 are targeting low-end customers such as young people who could not afford higher price of data plans and roaming costs.
For WhatsApp it’s the company’s first carrier roaming deal. Jan Koum, WhatsApp CEO and co-founder, said Hong Kong is one of the company’s top three markets, with 3 million active users - almost 60% of the city’s total population.
As a SMS alternative, WhatsApp has gained increased popularity by smartphone users across the globe. Currently more than 10 billion messages are being delivered via the WhatsApp Messenger in a single day, of which 4 billion are inbound messages and 6 billion are outbound messages, Koum said.