China Telecom, the smallest of the nation’s trio of wireless providers by subscribers, has launched its own instant messaging service, ‘YiChat’, to compete with Tencent’s popular over-the-top (OTT) app WeChat. Tech Hive writes that Telecom’s new app allows users to send free text and voice messages and does not require the recipient to have YiChat installed on their device. The widespread availability and popularity of mobile data services in China has spurred the development of social networking and messaging apps which have increasingly impacted telcos’ revenues from traditional services. Tencent’s WeChat is the most popular of these applications with more than 200 million registered users in China. Whilst Telecom reported revenue growth across the board from its mobile services, its larger rival China Mobile attributed a 5.5% decline in earnings from SMS and MMS in 1H 2013 to the OTT products.
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