Facebook now appears to have approval from both the U.S. regulators(which happened months ago back in April of this year)and the European Union for the acquisition proposal of WhatsApp, the insanely popular messaging app for Android, iOS, blackberry, Nokia and Windows devices. With such a broad reach to tons of different platforms, it's no wonder that Facebook has been interested in picking up Whatsapp as it could help them more fiercely compete in the mobile messaging space. Facebook already has their own messaging service available with "messenger" which just recently was split off from the Facebook app, and if all goes smoothly and the deal goes through, Facebook could be looking to integrate Whatsapp services and users with those of messenger and possibly roll everything into one application, which would seem like the logical choice.
According to the unnamed sources who are familiar with the matter, Facebook will win "unconditional clearance" for the EU approval of the $19 billion deal, although so far the announcement of the results have not been made public by the EU themselves. Whatsapp is said to have a reach that spans over 600 million monthly active users as of August of this year, while Facebook Messenger according to Mark Zuckerberg has 200 million monthly active users as of April of this year, although there is likely some number of users here that can be accounted for probably dipping a toe in both pools, so that number could be a bit lower. Even still, with nearly 800 million MAU's users combined and the possibility of free voice calls being added by Whatsapp to their own messaging service later on in the year if all goes according to plan for them, Facebook could stand to be a dominating competitor in this space.
Now that Hangouts has Google Voice integrated with it Hangouts is technically in the same league, although it's also likely that they have less MAU's than a combined Facebook and Whatsapp would. With data plans on the rise and more and more apps giving users the option to use web connected messaging apps, there is less and less of a reason to have a wireless plan with large amounts of minutes or even unlimited messaging, although many of today's plans have unlimited messaging and data bundled together as a package feature. Analysts apparently think that the deal now that it's approved by the EU, network operators in the region are likely to take hits, although Facebook has convinced the regulators that the deal would have no anti-competitive effects according to the source, and merged Whatsapp/Facebook wouldn't be the first messaging service to offer free unlimited messages and voice calls to other users.