With Skype under Microsoft ownership, Rebtel now claims to be the largest independent mobile VoIP provider, with 17 million users in over 200 countries accessing its service over WiFi and 3G on iPhone, Android, and PCs. Rebtel has added two million users since February, and is seeing an average of 650K new users a month — many of whom have been attracted by its low-cost calling to landlines and mobile, along with the ability to switch between data and voice connections to avoid dropped calls and busy networks.
Previously, Rebtel users have been able to download its iPhone app and use it on their iPads, but today the company is launching its first iPad app, with new navigation, graphics, and phonebook integration all optimized for Apple’s tablet.
The app allows users to make calls to other Rebtellers for free over WiFi and 3G, or select a number in their address book and call outside lines for cheap — at rates which CEO Andreas Bernstrom says can be up to 60 percent less expensive than Skype.
The app integrates with the iPad’s address book, enabling users to instantly see which contacts are available to call for free (are using Rebtel) and which they can call for cheap. The app also boasts low-cost international SMS at rates it claims are up to 60 percent lower than the average carrier, and allows users to let their friends reply to text messages for free by selecting “Collect Reply” and including a link to the message that lets them reply via mobile web page, while you pick up the tab. And because long calls over data networks can be unreliable, the company added its “KeepTalking” feature to let users talk over voice networks instead.
With Rebtel expecting to hit $85 million in revenues this year — with what the Rebtel CEO adds is an average revenue per user that’s three times higher than Skype — it believes its timing on the release of its new iPad app is looking good. The iPad reached 11.8 million in sales during the last quarter, with Apple selling 3 million of its new iPads in the first three days it was on the market, giving Apple a 68 percent share of the tablet market.
To this point, Bernstrom added:
We are squarely in the middle of the post-PC era, marked by an increasing amount of consumers who have leapfrogged the classic desktop PC in favor of multi-purpose mobile devices that allow for greater creativity and social interaction. We are excited to expand our development pipeline to respond to this growing global demand for tablets and iPads.
That being said, Rebtel plans to release an Android tablet app over the course of the next months, with a Windows Phone app due by the end of the summer. With Forrester research predicting that there will be 760 million tablets in use globally by 2016, the need for quality, tablet-optimized apps is becoming essential, and, offering cheap, flexible VoIP calling across tablet platforms will put Rebtel in a good position to continue its current growth.
For more, check out the free Rebtel iPad app here.