WhatsApp has recently announced that it will test a new pricing system for its WhatsApp Business API (WABA) in Mexico starting on the 1st of February 2021. In this post, we’ll clarify how the test works and who will be affected.
How does the current pricing system work?
WhatsApp has two messaging concepts: session message, and template message.
When a user writes to the company, WhatsApp starts a 24-hour session where users and the company can write normal text messages, called session messages, at no cost. Every time a user writes to the company the session is restarted and the conversation can continue for another 24 hours, with the count starting at the time of this message.
The session window closes 24 hours after the last message sent by the user.
If the session is closed, be it because the company is the first to message the user or because the user does not reply for more than 24 hours, the company only can send messages to the user via template messages.
Template messages are highly structured messages that are submitted for approval to WhatsApp; once approved they may be used multiple times. The cost of these messages is based on the country of the receiver.
Who will be affected by the pricing system change?
The new WhatsApp pricing system will affect only conversations with users who have Mexican numbers, regardless of the company WABA location.
If a company interacts with users based in multiple countries, the current pricing system will apply to conversations with users that do not have a Mexican phone number, and the new one will apply when messaging users with Mexican phone numbers, resulting in a hybrid pricing model.
What changes during the test?
The test changes the message concept from session and template message to the concept of conversation.
A conversation is a 24-hour window that starts when the company sends a message to the user, and each 24-hour conversation session will have a fixed cost per conversation, regardless of the number of messages exchanged by the company and the user during this period.
The most important difference is that with the current pricing the session is opened when the user writes to the company; with the new system, the conversation session opens when the company writes to the user.
Another relevant difference is that conversation sessions will no longer extend whenever a customer responds to a message. They will be fixed for 24-hour periods. If a conversation continues after the initial 24 hours, a new one will automatically start and the business will be charged for it.
What is the pricing in this new system?
The cost per conversation is 0.014 USD with the respective currency equivalency as you can see in the official WhatsApp documentation.
To make things easier for the companies using WABA, WhatsApp has also announced that businesses will have 1500 free conversions (with Mexican contacts) per month.
That means that the company is only charged per conversation after reaching 1500 conversations in a month. Check the example below to visualize how the new Mexican pricing system works.