China Unicom’s plans to accomodate Tencent’s white-hot chat app WeChat are already official and coming August 8. But it seems like China Telecom is looking to get in on the WeChat money train, too; Phoenix Tech is reporting that a source at its Guangdong subsidiary has said the company will be pushing out WeChat-specific subscription plans in August as well.
That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but what is surprising is that if the reports prove true, the new plans actually sound like a pretty good deal, unlike China Unicom’s ripoff package. Supposedly, Telecom subscribers will be able to get an extra 2 GB in dedicated WeChat and Sina Weibo usage for just 6 RMB ($1) per month. The addition of Weibo is interesting; the two apps collectively account for an awful lot of the traffic from China’s biggest social media users, so this deal may be quite attractive for some China Telecom subscribers.
Telecom has actually launched WeChat-friendly subscription add-ons like this before, but this latest deal looks to be the best for consumers and is likely to receive the most attention given the rather public battle between Tencent and China’s telecom companies over the revenue streams the app is gobbling up. Whether users will bite is another question, though, and even if they do, at 6 RMB for 2 GB it’s hard to imagine that China Telecom is really making up for all the revenue these apps are costing it as texting and calling becomes less common.
It also may be worth pointing out that although it’s just a web poll with a tiny sample size, in TechWeb’s poll of user thoughts on the new plan, most users are voting that it seems like a ripoff.
(Phoenix Tech via Techweb)