So Whatsapp was used for 54 billion messages by their users on December 31.

And while Whatsapp was doing this, Airtel was sending all their subscribers an SMS that read:

On 31st-Dec & 1st-Jan that is New Year, SMS pack benefits & discounts will not apply on your airtel mobile. SMS will be charged as per your bill plan.

The question Airtel were asking themselves: how can we use New Year’s eve to earn more money from our subscriber base? Their metrics: revenue; average revenue per user (ARPU).

The question Whatsapp ask themselves: how can we get more users? How can we get them to use our app more often? Their metrics: number of messages handled; number of monthly active users.

And then telcos wonder why they’re losing out to instant messaging services. Why are they becoming a dumb pipe?

Old school thinking = old school business results.