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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

WhatsApp Pay antitrust complaint dismissed by CCI: Report

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India’s antitrust Watchdog has dismissed a case against Facebook-owned WhatsApp. The case was against WhatsApp, accusing the popular instant-messaging platform of abusing its dominant position to expand in the digital payment market in India, where a number of competitors are already in play. Also Read – Xiaomi phones start getting 5G messaging feature, to allow WhatsApp-like texting

The case was filed against WhatsApp back in March, reports Times of India. However, in a new 41-page official order made public on Tuesday, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) reveals that it doesn’t find any contravention of antitrust laws.  It further adds that the company’s “actual conduct is yet to manifest in the market,” since WhatsApp Pay has not yet been launched. Also Read – WhatsApp stops working on vacation mode feature

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The report also mentions that WhatsApp states that the number of users able to use the beta version of WhatsApp Pay right now is less than 1 percent in India. WhatsApp faced an accusation that it was bundling its digital payment facility within its messaging app. This allowed it to abuse its market position and penetrate India’s booming digital payments market as per the complaint reviewed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in mid-March. WhatsApp Pay has so far had a rough road in India ahead of its launch, facing issues on various fronts. Also Read – WhatsApp: How to check all the deleted messages in the messaging app

The RBI recently told the Supreme Court it hasn’t granted permission to WhatsApp to go live for full-scale operations on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) payment system. The central bank, in its counter-affidavit, said: “Reserve Bank had examined the said reports and the responses of the NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) and was concerned that WhatsApp was storing some payment data elements outside India beyond the permitted timelines indicated in the circular and the Frequently Asked Questions on ‘Storage of Payment System Data’ issued by RBI on June 26, 2019.”

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The company was supposed to launch WhatsApp Pay in India back in 2019. However, data compliance issues and regulations have kept launch in abeyance since. In 2018, WhatsApp was granted a beta license to launch its payment service as a separate app. A petition moved in the apex court declared its existing mode inconsistent with the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) Scheme. It is estimated that the UPI-based WhatsApp Pay service will reach over 400 million users.

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