This article originally appeared in the Feb. 2011 issue of Unified Communications Magazine
Rebtel (News - Alert) is taking on the likes of Skype, GoogleVoice and Facetime with its mobile VoIP solutions. The latest to its lineup is a new app for the BlackBerry that allows users of the application to make free international calls.
“We are committed to bringing innovation into the oligopolistic marketplace to make international calls either free or super-cheap for our customers,” says Andreas Bernstrom, CEO of Rebtel. “Our BlackBerry app, in addition to our Android (News - Alert) app, delivers this in a powerful way, and the fact that this can be used across the bulk of smartphone devices is a huge advantage to mobile users who are looking to connect with friends and family across the globe in the most inexpensive way possible.”
Calls from Rebtel users to BlackBerry (News - Alert) or Android devices with the application enabled from any phone are free of international charges. When the user dials an international number, or selects an address book contact with an international number, the call is automatically intercepted and routed via Rebtel instead of their carrier, according to the company. And the capability doesn’t require a Wi-Fi connection; instead, it uses the standard cellular network, local numbers and users’ monthly local minutes.
“Unlike Skype (News - Alert), which still requires calls to be made over Wi-Fi, a fixed Internet connection, or a $99 per month Verizon plan, Rebtel works with any phone – landline, feature phone, or smartphone – for just the low price of the call,” according to Rebtel, which adds that there are no monthly fees, no connection fees, or other costs to use its service.
Rebel says it’s the No. 2 mobile VoIP provider. According to the company, it serves more than 9 million callers and has logged more than one billion minutes of international calls.
This enabled the company, which founded by Hjalmar Winbladh and Jonas Lindroth in 2006, to grow revenue by more than 100 percent last year to about $40 million. With a run rate of $55 million, Rebtel expects to generate revenue of $75 million this year.
A report released last year by Juniper Research forecasts that the number of mobile VoIP minutes will rise from 15 billion in 2010 to 470.6 billion minutes by 2015. The firm expects traffic to rise steadily in all regions, especially in developed markets. In the report, Juniper broke mobile VoIP into two categories, one using cellular 3G and 4G networks, and the other running over Wi-Fi connections.
Mobile VoIP Data
According to a January 2011 report from app store analytics company Distimo, RIM’s BlackBerry App World showed triple digit growth in the last year, growing to nearly 18,000 applications.
Google estimates that there are now more than 500 thousand apps running on more than 150 million mobile devices, and that the app economy is estimated to be $2 billion annually, growing to $4 billion by 2012.
A January report from Nielsen states that Android OS (25.8%) is still behind Apple’s iOS (28.6%). RIM’s share (26.1%) puts it within the margin of error of both Apple iOS and Android. Statistically, BlackBerry OS remains tied with both Apple for first and Android for third.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi