Pakistan launches a home-grown alternative to WhatsApp

Pakistan launches a home-grown alternative to WhatsApp

Instant messaging app Beep Pakistan has arrived. But will it challenge the popularity in Pakistan of WhatsApp?

According to India’s Economic Times, Beep Pakistan, which was launched as an alternative to the existing WhatsApp service, has reportedly been developed thanks to a collaboration between Pakistan’s IT Ministry and the National Information Technology Board (NITB).

Part of the rationale for a made-in-Pakistan app is to lessen the threat of potential cyberattacks, ensuring that sensitive government communication is better protected. Indeed, government communication is the main point of the app for now; it is currently available only to government officials.

Underlining the localisation aspect of the app Beep Pakistan apparently stores all user data within servers in Pakistan and under the supervision of the National IT Board. The idea is to make sure there is no risk of audio or video leaks.

There is optimism that the app will help to improve communication and efficiency within government departments. However, it won’t be exclusive to the government for long.

A phased rollout will see the app start within the country’s IT ministry and then move to other ministries and departments. Eventually there will be a rollout across Pakistan, bringing the app to the general public within a year via the Google Play Store.

The app's features include support for audio and video calls, end-to-end encryption, document sharing with captions and instant messaging.

Will Beep Pakistan eventually become the preferred alternative to WhatsApp across the country? That’s the hope of some government spokespeople, though there is still some way to go before it reaches the majority of the population.

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