When news broke that SingTel CEO Chua Sock Koong was calling for plans to charge over-the-top (OTT) Internet rivals like WhatsApp and Skype, certain factions of the Singapore online community responded with unimaginable fury.
Though SingTel was only planning to charge WhatsApp and Skype directly for using their network services, some netizens had mistaken that SingTel was planning to charge the customers directly for using WhatsApp and Skype on their mobile plan.
So to those confused, here’s a comic strip that summarizes the whole saga:
Ms Chua had argued that the telecommunications industry has so far failed to monetise the increase in demand for such services. And this is happening as WhatsApp, for instance, is piggybacking on the telcos’ networks while collecting its yearly subscription fee of US$0.99 (exclusive of the first year) from users.
To add salt to the wound, the Singapore cyberspace then picked up on news of SingTel retailing a value-added service known as “WhatsApp Pass“. For only S$6.42 per month, “WhatsApp Pass” subscribers are given unlimited local access without incurring any data charges from using the app. The service covers data usage incurred by sending or receiving messages, images, video clips and voice messages through WhatsApp in the city-state. The announcement caught the attention of the likes of DJ Rosalyn Lee who expressed her concerns over the telco’s future plans.