• IS provokes sea-change

    It has been a grave mistake to defy both Russia and France, says Leopold Scholtz.

  • Nene's SAA nemesis

    No political figure seems to have the guts to speak out against Dudu Myeni, says Solly Moeng.

  • The mp3 revolution

    Ian Mann takes a look at the war between digital music and the compact disc.

All data is delayed
See More

Operators launch WhatsApp challenger

Nov 28 2012 16:45
Madrid - Spain's three biggest mobile operators are teaming up to launch a service they hope will help them better compete with the likes of WhatsApp, Viber and Skype, which are luring customers with the promise of free phone calls and messages.

The Joyn service from Telefonica's Movistar, France Telecom's Orange and Vodafone will offer free messaging, enhanced call features and in some cases free calls.

The move comes amid a sharp fall in the number of paid-for text messages sent in recession-hit Spain, where the unemployment rate stands at one in four and where WhatsApp is the best-selling application on Apple Inc's App Store.

The service has become so well known that the local government on the southern island of Tenerife has said officials should use the application to cut mobile bills.

Joyn, which allows users to send video and pictures while on a smart phone, is available for Android phones and will shortly launch for Apple's iPhone.

More telecoms companies in Spain and globally are expected to offer the service, which will be implemented across operators in Germany later this year and in several European countries in 2013.

"This is the beginning of something that will cross most operators in most countries," said Graham Trickey, senior projects director at telecoms organisation GSMA.

Telefonica and Vodafone have lost hundreds of thousands of clients in Spain this year since they stopped subsiding smartphones, a policy Vodafone recently reversed.

Cash-strapped consumers are spending less on traditional telecom services, a boon to Internet-based services like WhatsApp and Skype.

The number of paid-for text messages sent in Spain dropped to 1.5 billion in the second quarter of 2012, from 1.9 billion in the same period the year before, according to the country's telecoms regulator.

Operators are keen to maintain customer loyalty, even if they are not making money from them. And Telefonica, Vodafone and Orange could charge for some Joyn services in future.

"It's possible that in the future we could launch new added-value services that could be paid for, for example better quality videocalls," a spokeswoman for Orange Spain said.
whatsapp  |  skype


Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:


Marketing is a big concern in SA's small business community, followed by a lack of confidence and partnering with the wrong people, according to a survey.

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

The 25 basis points interest rate increase is:

Previous results · Suggest a vote