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Summary:

WhatsApp, the huge mobile messaging app, has hit 100 million downloads on Google Play. The company is still not releasing overall mobile install numbers from its other five platforms. But the milestone shows why carriers are signing deals with it.

WhatsApp
photo: WhatsApp

WhatsApp, the hugely popular messaging app, has shied away from reporting download numbers, so it’s hard to pin point just how successful it is. But according to WhatsApp’s Google Play page , it is sailed past the 100 million download mark in the last week.

That milestone is just for Android installs and doesn’t include iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone or Symbian and Nokia’s S40 devices. But it gives you a good sense of just how big this app is. It’s now in the 100 million download club on Google Play along with Skype, Facebook, Angry Birds and a bunch of Google apps.

WhatsApp is also the top overall paid app in the Apple App Store in 119 countries, according to analytics firm App Annie, and continues to be the top paid social networking app in the U.S. and among the top five overall paid apps here.

It’s possible and likely, even, that WhatsApp could actually have more than 200 million installs collectively when you count all the other platforms. And these users are also heavily engaged with WhatsApp. The company tweeted in August that it hit a new daily record of 10 billion messages sent and received in a day. That’s up from 1 billion messages a day one year ago. 

I’ve reached out to WhatsApp to get a word on its overall download totals, but the company declined to comment, only confirming that it passed the 100 million mark on Google Play last week. This is a huge group of people messaging at a prolific rate outside of traditional SMS. So you can understand why WhatsApp makes some carriers nervous.

WhatsApp, however, is also working with carriers and trying to encourage subscribers to buy data plans. It has struck deals with more than 10 operators including Indonesia’s Telkomsel, which released an unlimited data plan for WhatsApp, KakaoTalk and Opera Mini. In September, the company signed a deal with Hong Kong operator Three, allowing Three subscribers to gain unlimited data access to the app for $1 a month. Three users also had the option of paying $6 a day for a WhatsApp Roaming Pass in 78 places around the world.

With WhatsApp showing no signs of letting up, we will probably see more operators line up and try to secure deals with WhatsApp.

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