WhatsApp has become the dominant messaging app in South Africa, and that is unlikely to change any time soon.
While it is used universally across the country, some minor criticisms have begun to emerge.
These include the fact that WhatsApp plans on implementing advertising spots within the status section of the app from 2020.
One of the popular elements of WhatsApp is that it doesn’t place adverts within the app – and the decision to begin doing this may leave a sour taste in the mouths of some users.
Platforms such as Mxit and BBM were incredibly popular in South Africa at one time too, but then fell away in favour of newer alternatives.
While WhatsApp seems unlikely to fold anytime soon, it is still worth seeing what alternatives are available on the market.
Here are some of the best alternatives to WhatsApp.
Many who use WhatsApp will also use Facebook Messenger on a regular basis.
One of the perks of this messaging platform is that it is connected directly to your Facebook profile, which means that both of these platforms can be accessed from one website when using a desktop.
It also means that your personal data isn’t spread out across various platforms.
Facebook Messenger offers numerous important features including video chat, voice calling, attachments, and GIF support.
It is also readily accessible to users, as most people already have a Facebook account.
WeChat is already incredibly popular, providing instant messaging services to over a billion monthly users – although these users are primarily from China.
Owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent, WeChat offers the features expected of a big, popular messaging app.
These include group chats, video chats, voice calls, location sharing, and stickers.
One feature that it offers which isn’t included in WhatsApp is the ability to edit images. This allows users to draw and write on images, as well as blur out certain elements of an image if required.
Downsides to WeChat include some privacy concerns and the lack of a “seen message” feature.
Telegram is a popular cloud-based, open-source messaging app which prides itself on its heavy encryption of messages.
There are Android, iOS, and Windows Phone Telegram apps, and it is also supported on macOS, Linux, Windows, and within browsers.
Telegram is free and doesn’t impose limits on the size of the media and messages you may transfer over its platform.
A key selling-point of Telegram is that its client-side code is open-source, meaning that users can build and implement their own tools to improve their messaging experience.
It also offers important features such as groups, voice calls, and the ability to send any type of document to other users.
Viber is another popular messaging app which places a big focus on its audio and voice features. It offers both voice and video calling, as well as instant voice and video messages similar to WhatsApp’s voice note feature.
It also claims to be the most secure messaging app in the world. Nothing that is shared on its app is ever stored on Viber servers once delivered, and Viber can’t read your messages.
As a result of this, Viber can’t target users with ads based on their messaging history.
Viber also offers the expected features of a popular messaging app like groups, stickers and GIFs, the ability to delete seen messages, and multi-platform accessibility.