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VON: VoIP Comes to Mobile

Two of the more interesting companies here at VON are Rebtel and Truphone.  Both of these companies use VoIP technology to radically trim your cell phone bill.  On the theory that you’ve got a large bucket of cheap local minutes, both connect you to a local DID, and then bridge the call over the internet.’

It’s at this point, however, that the companies diverge.  Truphone’s model is to take one of the new WiFi / VoIP handsets available from Nokia, and add a single unobtrusive menu item asking whether or not the call is to be made over the internet.  It’s a dead simple system.

Rebtel, by contrast, is more of a call back service.  You tell Rebtel what number it should reach and then it initiates a call back.  Rebtel’s model is more inclusive than Truphone’s in that it works with any handset.  However, it’s also clumsier to use.

Both of these are terrifically important developments.  Mobile is one of the last bastion’s of high margin cellular service.  Rebtel and Truphone are storming the gates. 

More from Martin Geddes here.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Loic September 14, 2006, 4:47 pm

    Hi Alec,

    Intersting news, i'm going to check out those.
    Just to let you know the links to Rebtel and Truphone are not working:
    for example ,truphone link is pointing to http://saunderslog.com/wp-admin/www.truphone.com

  • Alec September 14, 2006, 5:38 pm

    Thanks Loic. Fixed the links. A

  • Sebastian Guy September 15, 2006, 12:59 pm

    OK – so Truphone only works with certain Nokia handsets – but they have certainly picked the right ones! The Nokia E-series handset (E60/E61/E70) are all drop dead gorgeous – and now that Nokia have (at last) released the 'fixed' PR2 firmware they now have business grade reliability.

    If Truphone are launching a version for the 'prosumer' N-Series phones, particularly the N80 and N91, then I can see them being VERY successful. I have no idea how many of these handsets Nokia have shipped globally over the past three months, but I would guess that it must be millions……

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