Bip is the new messaging app of Turkcell, Turkey’s largest mobile operator. I came across ads for the app on several online and offline channels and decided to check it out.

Bip is a cross between WhatsApp and Snapchat with additional emoticons specific to the Turkish market. It allows you to send messages to people on your phone’s contact list who have Bip installed, just like on Whatsapp. But you can also add a timer to your message so that it disappears after a certain time like on Snapchat. Snapchat messages are set to disappear after between 1 and 10 seconds while messages on Bip can be set to disappear after 3, 5, 10, or 60 seconds.

Bip also features local emoticons with Turkish text and images specific to Turkish culture. I liked these.

The app’s data usage is free for Turkcell subscribers but not subscribers of other operators. This gives it an advantage over other messaging apps for Turkcell subscribers.

Bip is a strong attempt by a mobile operator to lure smartphone users away from third party apps to their own communication platforms. It adds a nice local touch to competitors like Whatsapp and Snapchat, and I look forward to following its progress over the coming months.