Jan Koum: „WhatsApp Calls in every Network in the World“

WhatsApp is growing at the same rate as before the Facebook deal. „Now we have 480 million active users worldwide and 31 million in Germany“, said Jan Koum.

©Jan Koum

WhatsApp Usage Worldwide

After the Facebook deal WhatsApp grows in the same pace as before. „Our user growth remains steady. Now we have 480 million active users worldwide“, said Jan Koum, CEO of WhatsApp, in my  interview for german news magazine FOCUS. Even in Germany, where one third of the WhatsApp users had indicated to switch to another messaging app like Threema oder Telegram, growth is still high. „We are now over 31 million active users in Germany and we are still growing fast in the same rate we are used before“, said Mr. Koum. WhatsApp is by far the most popular app in Germany. In january WhatsApp reported 30 million active users in Germany where 40 million people have smartphone.

WhatsApp calls are being build to work in every network in the world

The new voice product, announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, should work everywhere in the world regardless of the quality of the mobile network. . „The WhatsApp calls are being build to work in every network, not just 4G. It works in 3G and even EDGE-Networks. Our goal is the make the calls available on every network in the world, regardless how fast it is“, said Mr. Koum. „And that is why we are so focused on bandwidth optimization and making sure that we use as little data as possible to deliver really great quality. It has taken us a long time to build it. We haven’t finished yet, we are still working on it. But when it launches we believe it gonna be the most network efficient and highest quality voice product out there“, Mr. Koum added.

Work with carriers all over the world

The cooperation with german mobile operator E-Plus is just the starting point for more deals of that kind. „The cooperation with E-Plus is an example how very progressive and forward thinking operators can work with companies like WhatsApp to create brands and create strong user retention and loyalty, including monetization for operators and for us. I can’t go into details but we are admitted to work with carriers in new ways all over the world“, said Mr. Koum.

WhatsApp won’t go to the Facebook campus

When asked about doubts of many users that a Facebook owned company won’t collect their data, Mr. Koum said: „We have no plans to change anything except make our product better and introduce new features. We can guarantee that. Even when the deal is closed, we gonna be completely independent and autonomous. We are going to stay in our own office in Mountain View, we won’t go to the facebook campus. We have no plans to make any kind of changes to the product that would make us a product of Facebook. The brand will always be a separate WhatsApp brand.“

Interview: Holger Schmidt   

Read the complete story in FOCUS (Web/Google Play/Apple). German language.

See Jan Koum at DLD in Munich (january 2014)

Photo: Hubert Burda Media / DLD

Read my interviews with Mark Zuckerberg: „Our focus is growth, not revenue“ (2008), Eric Schmidt: „The next big wave in mobile is advertising“ (2008), Eric Schmidt „We don’t pay for traffic„, Jeff Bezos „Amazon greift in Deutschland an„, Jan Koum: „Wir wollen 100 Prozent“ (january 2014) and Jack Dorsey (DLD 2012).

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