VimpelCom has entered into a partnership with WhatsApp to deliver a series of consumer offers.

The deal with the OTT messaging service, which has 350 million active users per month, will enable VimpelCom to provide enhanced web communication services as part of its bundled tariff plans while driving mobile internet usage and revenues, according to a statement.

VimpelCom customers will receive mobile messaging and social offers including full WhatsApp functionalities like group messaging, picture sharing, video messaging, voice messaging, contacts and locations.

Mikhail Gerchuk, VimpelCom's Group chief commercial and strategy officer said "a large number" of the company's customers already use internet services like WhatsApp and this has been key to its "strong growth in mobile data users and revenues".

He added: "Our key priority is to deliver the best mobile experience to our customers... this partnership is a further step by VimpelCom towards delivering to our customers the most popular, relevant and innovative applications in a convenient and cost-effective way."

VimpelCom customers in Bangladesh and Pakistan are the first to receive the WhatsApp offers, with users in other countries set to gain access in due course.

The partnership with WhatsApp is the latest in a string of collaborations for the Netherlands-based operator.

In February, for example, it announced a tie-up with Microsoft and Nokia that will see it get dedicated space on the Windows Phone Store and introduce direct operator billing.

A month earlier, it signed a deal the Wikimedia Foundation, owner of Wikipedia, to offer its mobile customers free access to the web-based encyclopedia.

Last month, research from Informa found that global annual SMS revenues will drop from €89.3 billion this year to €72 billion by 2018 due to the continuing use of OTT messaging services.

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