Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Finally Truphone Anywhere comes out and proves me right

Truphone finally makes it public: According to fellow VoIP blogger Alec Saunders and the UK site Techworld, Truphone is set to announce Truphone Anywhere, a service that lets you acccess the Truphone network from any mobile, whether on WiFi or not.

You know what? I know this service since February and better didn't tell to not ruin Truphone's surprise. Research Director James Body showed it off secretly to me at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. That's what I wrote in a later blog post on February 29, 2008:
They always have much more advanced Truphone versions installed than normal users. The last lab version I saw in Barcelona was quite promising and solved a problem I was always nagging about.

I am don't think that the new Truphone Anywhere feature with its beautiful Skype like "A"-logo is a direct reaction to my nagging blog post "To make money from mobile VoIP, companies have to accept certain realities" from February, 1st. But it attacks the problem that "WiFi isn't everywhere and callback costs double", which was always my strongest point against many mobile VoIP business ideas like Truphone.

To solve it, I recommended a network of international callthrough numbers which users can dial for local prices to channel their mobile phone calls into the VoIP system of companies like Truphone, Gizmo5 or WiFiMobile. It seems that Truphone finally took my advice, after Wifimobile had already announced a similar solution and Gizmo5 always cooperated with Sipbroker for local callthrough.

Techworld now writes that Truphone could join the bandwagon because they have bought the travel SIM card provider SIM4Travel. But I guess that Jajah or Tpad could also have provided with the necessary infrastructure.
Truphone Anywhere dials a gateway on a local number, which then connects through to the destination number, saving money if it is an international call. Unlike some other services, this is transparent, with the call set-up handled automatically after the user dials the remote number. It is enabled partly by a recent Truphone acquisition, SIM4Travel, which provides cheap international calling through gateways in Europe.
Let's see if it's as cool as the Israeli mobile VoIP software miracle from Mobilemax which automatically connects the cheapest way. I am also wondering what came first: 1.) the acquisition of SIM4Travel, 2.) the last round of financing, 3.) Truphone Anywhere? The official Truphone version is 1, 2, 3. The financining allegedly followed one week after the acquisition on April 17, 2008. But I am pretty sure that it went 3, 2, 1.

I have now installed the new Truphone software 4.0. Anywhere doesn't work yet in Germany.

After contact with Truphone's tech support and a complete erase and reinstall it works now.


  1. Hi Markus - You might allready know vopium:
    , which also uses this technique. I prefer the original truphone concept though, since it avoids the local provider costs.

  2. Doesn't look very impressive to me. Cheaper calling to abroad from your mobile phone while in your home country has always been possible. For example, with specialised providers such as Lebara or AY YILDIZ, or through Voipbuster/Tpad with their national call-in numbers.

    By the way, Truphone's call through number in The Netherlands is +31208080200 (options > what's my > call through number). When I call with my landline phone it attempts to pass on the call. You would have expected a message saying that the callerID number is not registered with Truphone.

  3. Alexander StraubJune 2, 2008 at 10:49 PM

    Hi Markus, thanks for the great post about Truphone Anywhere .

    I just used the service for a week in Switzerland as well as a day in Germany, while at an annual general meeting in Duesseldorf.

    In particular I used
    1) WiFi calling (at the SAS Radisson - FREE WiFi with each room),
    2) call through and
    3) call back worked fine on my Nokia E51.
    while traveling in the taxi from the airport to the meetings

    My wife used the her Nokia E65 without any problems in Switzerland.

    I also took advantage of the truphone sim4travel to save on incoming calls (via truphone to sim4travel call forwarding has no more roaming fees). On my trip I concluded what I really want from truphone:

    I need my truphone number on my sim4travel SIM:

    While I traditional used to have large mobile bills (Euro 280 - 370 / months (* note that I am heavy international caller and also travel a bit in Europe / US and Asia)). I have now averaged a monthly bill of Euro 50 (*note that I now only use a truphone mobile, no more landline phone) - the amount has been an averaged over the past 18 months while I have been a customer of truphone.

    I have experimented with many SIM cards but still hope the Sim4Travel solution will allow me to dispense all the remaining short term SIM's for each country (I am currently carrying SIM's for China, US, Switzerland, Germany, France, UK, etc.) - surely non of the actual SIM phone numbers are important to me as I route all my incoming calls to my truphone number(s). My truphone numbers are now my primary way of reaching me anywhere in the world.

    Yes, I have now the several US and several UK truphone numbers all pointing to one SIP profile on my phone. A great way to build email equivalent alias on a mobile service. The advantage are locals numbers for local friends. (note this is not yet available to the general public)

    NOTE / Disclosure: I am a founding member via Straub Ventures of ((truphone)). I believe some of my learnings over 1.5 years of heavy truphone usage allows newcomer to the service to get faster up to speed with the truphone software and learn new and innovative ways to apply the software in real world situations. Needless to say I am also one of the biggest fans and a very heavy user.

    Alexander Straub


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