Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Truphone -the new Skype?
I'll be highlighting my choice of companies to watch ahead of the Mobile World Congress next month, and one that is worthy of attention is Truphone, founded by serial entrepreneur Alexander Straub in 2005.
Since then, the company has grabbed the headlines and has been labelled as the new skype, with its disruptive approach to the holy grail of cheap or free mobile calls. The Truphone wizard can be downloaded free from the company’s website or via text message, and ought to work on almost any Wi-Fi-enabled handset available on the market. Users of the Truphone service can make free calls and send free texts to other Truphone users. Since calls are carried via Wi-fi over the internet, the call need never enter a regular phone network – fixed or mobile – meaning no operator charges are payable.
Truphone is not without its critics though, some of whom cite the fact that there are innumerable issues with calls over wi-fi, such as service area, coverage and security that mean that Truphone may never make it into the mainstream, but whose main hope is to have its software incorporated within an existing platform.
In an interview in CNBC European Business this month, Alexander Straub exuded optimism and confidence that truphone is delivering on its business model and is here to stay. Given his successful track record with his prior ventures and a recent landmark victory against T-Mobile UK who were illegally blocking Truphone's software, it seems Straub's optimism is justified.