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Tencent president promises free service for WeChat

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-04-08 09:52

Guo Ying, founder and CEO of VIVA Wireless New Media Co Ltd, explained that popular OTTs like WeChat operate by sending regular "heartbeat-like" signals, which can impose a heavy burden on a busy network.

Whether OTT messaging services should share the costs of network operations has already been a global topic, and the debate was not unique to China, said Wang Jianzhou, former chairman of China Mobile, also at a sub-forum of Boao.

"The surging data flow created by OTTs has led to rising operational costs for telecom operators, who have found it hard to make ends meet by merely charging users for their data flows," Wang said.

Other observers, however, said the arguments about data traffic belied the true conflicts between the ascending popularity of OTT services and dwindling usage of messaging services offered by telecom operators.

The tremendous popularity of WeChat has apparently dealt a blow to similar services developed by China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, China's major three telecom operators.

Moreover, free OTT services have allowed users to bypass traditional communication modes like phone calls and text messaging, two prime "cash cows" for telecom service providers, said Yan Xiaojia, an analyst with Analysys International, an Internet research institute.

Data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology shows that a total of 897.3 billion text messages were sent in China last year, up 2.1 percent year-on-year, compared with 6.2 percent growth registered in 2011. Experts say the services are losing many users to free messaging apps.

"The rapid expansion of WeChat has taken away the profits of the telecom operators - this is why they raise their axes," Yan said.

Earlier reports

Monopolies curb innovation by adding fees

WeChat dominance attacked

Telecom giants challenged by smartphone messaging apps

China Mobile, Tencent at odds on charges

Telecom carriers mull charges for WeChat

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Tencent president promises free service for WeChat






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