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SA mobile networks’ dirty secrets about WhatsApp and Facebook

Telecommunications industry analyst and researcher Arthur Goldstuck has said that mobile networks hide 8 dirty secrets about WhatsApp and Facebook.

By Staff Writer – February 4, 2016 46 Comments

Whatsapp vs mobile operators

World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck recently wrote an open letter to mobile operators in which he proclaimed “It’s over between us”.

The letter followed a Parliamentary hearing about regulating over-the-top (OTT) services such as WhatsApp and Facebook in SA.

Vodacom and MTN argue that OTTs should be regulated in the same way that network operators are in South Africa.

Following his open letter, Goldstuck posted a 10-tweet “tweetnote” presentation which he titled: Mobile Networks’ dirty secrets of WhatsApp and Facebook.

Goldstuck said that mobile network operators want taxes and limits placed on WhatsApp, Facebook, and other OTT services, but they hide 8 dirty secrets.

1. These (OTTs) are the biggest drivers of smartphone uptake in the mass market.

2. Video and image sharing via apps gives a massive boost to networks’ data traffic.

3. Data for most messages, videos, and images are paid for twice – once by the sender, and again by the recipient.

4. The more actively people use them, the more they start using other apps too.

5. Networks that embrace OTT, like Tigo Tanzania and Cell C in South Africa, grow rather than lose revenue.

6. These apps make no money from consumers, so there is little point snaring in a local tax net.

7. If mobile networks limit apps, free public Wi-Fi will see massive growth and uptake.

8. Limiting them is anti “net neutrality” – the equal treatment of all data traffic.

“In short, the call by mobile networks to limit OTT apps is self-defeating, anti-consumer, anti-business. They must withdraw the call,” he said.

More on WhatsApp regulation in South Africa

The risk of higher WhatsApp data prices

Icasa will investigate WhatsApp and Facebook in South Africa

WhatsApp does not pay tax in South Africa: MTN

Vodacom and MTN do not want to become “dumb pipes” for WhatsApp

WhatsApp and Facebook should not be regulated to death in SA