Going over the top: Who is going to profit from the rise of WhatsApp and Viber?

Smartphone owners now have so many apps at their disposal for communicating with friends across the internet for free, it’s like they’re confronted with a selection box of assorted digital chocolates. Dozens of companies are jostling for their attention, waving about treats such as voice calling, supersized emoticons (or stickers), gaming and more.But popular technologies aren’t created without ruffling feathers. The mobile carriers who have traditionally been the gatekeepers of our voice minutes and our text bundles have, by virtue of the unlimited data plans that facilitate these apps, loosened their grip on us – and they’re losing money: an estimated £9bn in 2011 and rising. Meanwhile, Facebook and Google aren’t going to let start-ups muscle in on their territory.
www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/going-over-the-top-who-is-going-to-profit-from-the-rise-of-whatsapp-and-viber-8577422.html

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