Well this is not something that I am saying, it is what Facebook said to one of the application attempt to access the WhatsApp Business API just to check how it works. It was almost a year ago that I applied via one of the form URL that they shared on the site which I believe is no longer available. Now this is the updated site which says something about Partners. Indeed, the contents of the email reply which reads:
...If you’re looking to get started with our API right away, we have partnered with a group of third-party providers that can help you leverage the WhatsApp Business API to power your customer conversations. Our partner program includes communications platforms with expertise in developing for WhatsApp and other messaging channels. They can provide you with a variety of value-added services including technical integration support, hosting, operational setup, and account support...
There has been increasing number of users who visit inteygrate.com and are looking for WhatsApp Salesforce integration. We have shared articles on the same using an unofficial library yowsup and another one using a middleware tool called Twilio. The partner directory is a list of similar such middleware technologies with which WhatsApp/Facebook has partnered to help customers achieve the WhatsApp integrations. Below is the list of 51 messaging experts in enterprise business to customer communications that are listed in the Partner Directory
Facebook Partner directory for WhatsApp Business API
If you ever happened to have worked on any one or more of these and would like to share an article on inteygrate you can reach here
freshworks | lithium | conversocial | clarabridge | ringcentral | liveperson | yalochat | sparkcentral | smooch | brandembassy | botmaker | take | sanuker | whatsquare | superare | twilio | imimobile | wavy global | hubtype | cm | yellowmessenger | facelift | messengerpeople | zendesk | kaleyra | 360dialog | infobip | kata | nexmo | uib | keyreply | commbox | netcore | jatismobile | hello-technology | wavecell | sinch | axxia | karix | wappin | falcon | tyntec | emma global | clare | damcorp | mfms | messagebird | clickatell | novomind-messaging | accengage | gupshup
In short with this email Facebook confirms that the access to WhatsApp Business API is still not publicly available, not even with an option to pay; and the service is provided only via one of the listed Partner. That is probably a better business model by which Facebook is trying to cash on the huge WhatsApp users by building a Partner Ecosystem rather than making the APIs directly available that might result in small scale businesses or marketing scammers exploit the APIs affecting the user base which in turn might give an edge to other competitor messaging application like Telegram, Line, Viber, WeChat, Kakao, Tango etc.