interview


Rebtel CEO: “Call quality is the key”

Andreas Bernström, CEO of VoIP company Rebtel

Andreas Bernström, CEO of VoIP company Rebtel, is speaking at the LTE North America conference taking place on the 14-15th November 2012 at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel, Texas.  He explains what makes Rebtel stand out from the competition and how LTE will make a difference.

Please tell us about Rebtel and how it works.

Rebtel is the world’s second largest mVoIP company after Skype. We provide free and cheap calling and texting internationally and locally. We have 17m users globally and will do revenues in excess of $80m in 2012. Our service can be used on any landline or mobile but we have specific applications for Android, iPhone Blackberry, WP7 and PC. Any Rebtel user that has an application can call any other application user for free over data. We can also move a call from a data call to a regular pstn call if the data quality deteriorates.

There’s an increasing amount of competition in the VoIP market? How do you stand out?

Rebtel’s success against its competitors is down to a few different things. You can use Rebtel with any phone any time. It’s not just for free data calling (like Viber), you can also call landlines or internationally to people who have feature phones or poor 3G or wifi connections. Call quality is the key. Where others cut corners, our main driver is that call quality should always be excellent. The prices (free or cheap) might attract them to Rebtel, but the quality keeps them. We have excellent customer support, which means happy customers who tell their friends. We have very low sales acquisition cost due to a great deal of customers coming to us organically. Rebtel has huge scale with 17m users and over 2billion minutes of terminating calls we are able to provide great prices to our users.

What are the key challenges of IP based telephony?

Setting up a company that essentially works like an operator and can terminate calls anywhere in the world to any phone and take payment in 52 countries is complex, we have spent a great deal of time building our infrastructure and back-end. IP based calling is essentially not hugely complicated but like anything getting the quality excellent takes time and skill. We have invested heavily bringing in the right people to ensure the quality of calling is better than our competitors. Simplicity – even if a service is great, it won’t work unless it’s super easy to use. Our applications make it very simple for users to get up and running.

How will the drive towards LTE help your business?

Better connectivity means more access for users and better quality IP based free calling. This will drive more and more people to download our applications and call each other for free. At the same time, those individuals will then also see that Rebtel can save them enormous amounts on international calling and texting and local long distance.

You are targeting price sensitive users. Do you think that carriers are implementing LTE pricing in the correct way?

It’s still very early days in terms of pricing and my assumption is the model will develop from here, but a data based model seems to be the most obvious direction for operators.

Outside of Rebtel, is there enough innovation occurring in the mobile network industry? Can you provide some examples?

There are some good signs in that operators are setting up innovation hubs and are looking at IP and digital business models and services, but ultimately I would say that innovation is not prevalent in the industry as yet. One strong example of a company doing right however is Telefonica Digital which released ‘TU Me’ which has had some success, especially in South America.

The LTE North America conference is taking place on the 14-15th November 2012 at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel, Texas. Click here to register your interest.


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