WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP) Showdown
August 15, 2021
In this article we will dive into the market of WhatsApp Business API Solution providers. Wait, what is WhatsApp Business API? I already have a WhatsApp app on my phone, isn't that enough? If you have these questions on your mind, I suggest you read this first: What is the difference between WhatsApp Business API and WhatsApp Web?
In short - WhatsApp has two products for business: The WhatsApp Business app (only available your phone), and WhatsApp Business API (runs entirely in the cloud). The former is free but allows just one user. WhatsApp Business API (WABA) allows multiple users but is not free and can only be connected through one of Facebook's trusted partners, or Business Solution Providers.
Providers will set up your WABA account for you and provide you with access to their WhatsApp API, which you can then connect to 3rd party platforms such as Rasayel.
As of now, Facebook has almost 100 WhatsApp partners, and choosing one can be challenging. Features and capabilities can vary significantly from one provider to another, and it is therefore important to make an informed decision, to ensure that you receive the best experience.
We work with a large number of providers, and can help you find one that fits you best depending on your company's needs.
Types of WhatsApp Business API Partners
There is no strict classification of providers. One main difference I see is that some providers offer their own customer support inbox, while others don't. These inboxes often do not meet customer expectations. Here are some aspects you should consider instead:
- How easy is the application process? Are there application fees? What about other hidden fees?
- Can you switch providers without losing your phone number? Yes, this is only supported by a few service providers.
- What kind of WhatsApp messages and file types are supported?
- What WhatsApp Business API features does this provider support, and how quick are they to implement new features?
- How easy is it to manage your WhatsApp account and profile?
Pricing models - session messages, template messages
Providers offer different pricing models. Some sell fixed-price packages, while others charge for every message sent and received. There are also providers who charge for monthly active users. In some cases, template messages are included in the pricing, while in other cases they are not. For more on template messages: docs.rasayel.io/whatsapp-templates
For template messages, it's important to note that WhatsApp charges a per message fee. This pricing depends on the destination country. Here is the official price list. Some providers will bill you the exact amount, while others will add an additional charge on top of the official pricing.
Here's a pricing breakdown for several WhatsApp Business API (WABA) providers. Our inbox, Rasayel, supports 360dialog, Twilio, Messagebird, and CM.
360dialog offers unlimited sent and received session messages for just $15/month.
For WhatsApp templates, they don't charge any additional fees; they will bill you according to the WhatsApp price list.
Twilio charges a flat per message fee for every message sent and received: $0.005 per message.
For WhatsApp templates, in addition to WhatsApp fees, Twilio charges an additional per message fee for all countries: $0.005 per message.
Just like Twilio, MessageBird charges a flat fee for every message sent and received: $0.005 per message.
For WhatsApp templates, in addition to WhatsApp fees, MessageBird charges an additional per message fee for all countries: $0.005 per message.
CM.com charges based on Monthly Active Users (unique customers). Pricing starts from €99/month for up to 500 Monthly Active Users.
WhatsApp templates are not included in the package, and you will be charged according to the ofifical price list.
Infobip charges for monthly active users (MAUs) as well.
The monthly fee is $1,500, which includes 100,000 MAUs. The price per additional MAU is $0.016. We were unable to verify these prices. Infobip may offer customized pricing based on individual needs.
Account application process
A recent policy from Facebook requires that customers have full ownership of their WhatsApp accounts. For that reason, the application process with any provider will, to some extent, require your involvement. With some providers, the application process is entirely self-serve.
As a general requirement, you'll need to begin by verifying your Facebook Business Manager ID. You can do this from your Facebook Business settings page. Business verification usually takes less than one week.
Duration: 5 minutes to begin the trial experience; 1 week for full activation
Cost of application: Free of charge
Process summary: 360dialog offers customers Express Signup, which takes only a few minutes. You don't need to verify your Facebook Business Manager ID if you don't plan to send more than 50 templates per day. You may verify your business ID later on if your messaging volume increases, or if you wish to apply for an Official Business Account.
Check out our 360dialog account application guide for more information.
Duration: 2 to 4 weeks
Application fee: Free of charge
Process summary: You'll need to verify your FB Business Manager ID first, register an account with Twilio, and purchase a Twilio number.
Check out our Twilio account application guide for more information.
Duration: 2 to 4 weeks
Application fee: Free of charge
Process summary: You'll need to verify your FB Business Manager ID first, register an account with MessageBird, and purchase a MessageBird number. You may also register your own number.
Check out our MessageBird account application guide for more information.
Application/onboarding fee: €499
Process summary: You'll need to verify your FB Business Manager ID first, register an account with CM, contact CM support, and provide them with your details. You can refer to the official CM.com guide here: How can I get a WhatsApp Business account?
Fees: There may be an application fee, but we were unable to verify exact amounts.
Process summary: To start your application process, register an account with Infobip and contact their sales team.
Numbers (porting, purchasing, and allowed types)
To register a WhatsApp account, a phone number is required. It can be your existing number, or one you purchased from a provider. Not all providers sell numbers. For providers that do, the numbers available are often limited to certain regions.
You may register your own number with 360dialog. Mobile, landline, and toll-free numbers are supported. They do not offer numbers for sale.
You may register your own number with CM.com. Mobile, landline, and toll-free numbers are supported. They do not offer numbers for sale.
With Twilio, the fastest way is to buy a number from them.
A Twilio number will cost you a minimum of $1 per month, depending on your region.
You can register a non-Twilio number with them too, because they offer number porting. However, the process is expensive, complex, and can take up to 6 weeks. For more information on porting, check out this article.
If you purchase a number from Twilio, the following types are supported: Local, mobile, national, and toll-free (US only)
With MessageBird, you may either a buy a number from them, or register your own.
The following types of numbers are supported:
Mobile, landline, and Virtual Mobile Numbers (VMN). VMNs need to be voice-capable to receive the activation token by phone call. VMNs can be purchased from MessageBird.
You may register your own number with Infobig. Mobile, landline, and toll-free numbers are supported. They do not offer numbers for sale.
Business profile management
Your WhatsApp Business profile contains information about your company. It includes a profile photo, business name, business description, business address, business hours, business email address and business website. It's not something you'll need to edit regularly, but it is important to be able to do so when necessary.
From the 360dialog dashboard you can only change your Display Name. To change any other info, you may either do it through the 360dialog API, or contact the support team.
To update your profile info for a WhatsApp sender, visit the WhatsApp Senders page in the Twilio Console and click on the sender (phone number) you want to update. On that page, you can edit your Business Address, Website, Email Address, Description, and Profile Photo.
If you need to update your Business Display Name or Profile About (tagline) for a specific WhatsApp sender, you'd need to submit a support ticket.
It's possible to edit most of your basic business information within your MessageBird Dashboard. You are able to edit the following fields: Profile Photo, Status, Business Email, Business Address, Business Description, Business Industry, Business Websites.
Changing your display name requires contacting MessageBird support.
You can modify some of your company information from the Infobip dashboard. This includes Business Description, Contact Information, and Profile Photo.
You may edit the following through the CM dashboard: Profile Photo, Address and Business Description.
When registering a WhatsApp Business account with a provider you get access to the provider's API, not to the WhatsApp API directly. For that reason, not all of the features supported by the official WhatsApp API will be supported by your provider of choice.
In this chapter we will highlight some of our favorite WhatsApp Business API features.
Interactive Message Templates
Templates with buttons that can be attached to text or media messages. All of the five providers from this article support this feature. Rasayel allows creating and sending interactive message templates.
If your company operates in several languages, you might want to have the same WhatsApp template in many languages. WhatsApp allows you to apply for a template together with translations to different languages. These are known as multilingual templates. Here's how it looks like in the Twilio dashboard:
Supported by: 360dialog, Twilio, MessageBird, CM.com
Express signup (or Embedded signup) is a way for Business Solution Providers to let businesses onboard to the WhatsApp Business API directly from their website. This onboarding flow simplifies the process, reducing onboarding from weeks to a matter of minutes.
Express signup is supported by 360dialog and Infobip.
Migrating Phone Numbers between WABAs or BSPs
A phone number that is already registered in the WhatsApp Business API can be moved between WhatsApp Business API accounts. This allows for businesses to change BSPs (Business Solution Provider) or move their number to a new account. Most BSPs don't support this, meaning once you register a phone number with them, you cannot migrate it to a different WhatsApp provider.
Number porting is supported only by 360dialog.
Regardless of your use case, we at Rasayel prefer 360dialog as the ideal WhatsApp Business Solution provider, for the following reasons:
- Lowest pricing, with no extra fees for WhatsApp template messages
- Express signup allows you to register a WhatsApp Business account within minutes
- Number porting allows you to switch WhatsApp providers while keeping your existing phone number
- If you ever decide to leave 360dialog, you can do that just as easily — you will not be held hostage
If you have an existing CM.com, Twilio, or MessageBird account, we support those too! Give Rasayel a try here.
- Types of WhatsApp Business API Partners
- Pricing models - session messages, template messages
- Account application process
- Numbers (porting, purchasing, and allowed types)
- Business profile management
- Interactive Message Templates
- Multilingual Templates
- Express Signup
- Migrating Phone Numbers between WABAs or BSPs
- In conclusion