Deutsche Telekom is considering an alliance with WhatsApp, the latest European phone company to seek closer links with the mobile-messaging start-up that agreed to be acquired by Facebook for $19 billion (R207bn) last week.

Germany’s biggest carrier was prepared to partner with WhatsApp in markets such as Romania, though not in its home country, said Claudia Nemat, the board member in charge of the European unit and technology. Deutsche Telekom was at the same time pushing alternative services such as Joyn and Jibe to appeal to different groups, she said.

“We don’t believe that one single model will succeed, but that we’ll see a co-existence of services,” Nemat said on Monday during an interview at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. “Which one you’ll choose depends on your age group and how important privacy is to you.”

Royal KPN of the Netherlands, said its German E-Plus unit had agreed to introduce a WhatsApp offer this quarter.

Once considered a disruption for phone companies because its free-messaging service has reduced use of traditional text messaging, WhatsApp has now become an attractive partner for carriers that are looking for ways to benefit from WhatsApp’s 450 million users around the world. – Bloomberg