Monday, March 30, 2009

Why Truphone's new flatrate prices might be a bad idea

Truphone announces new flatrate prices. Gigaom had the news first, but my comment doesn't show up. So I answer with a blog post. I am afraid that this is a bad move of Truphone.

TruUnlimited for Landlines
For people who need to communicate regularly with colleagues, friends or family around the world, the TruUnlimited for Landlines monthly plan gives unlimited calls to landlines in 38 countries for just £10 / $17 per month. As a bonus, the plan also permits calls to mobile phones in some top destinations such as the USA, Canada, China, and Hong Kong at no extra charge.

TruUnlimited for Mobiles
For people calling mobile phones more frequently, the TruUnlimited for Mobiles monthly plan provides subscribers with unlimited calls to mobiles and landlines in 64 countries for just £25 / $40 per month.

Does anybody remember Wifimobile? They offered the same and probably went bust, at least there is nothing to be heard of them anymore.

Wifimobile started at the same time as Truphone with a similar business: VoIP calls from Nokia handsets, using an own VoIP software for Wifi. Later they introduced VoIP calls outside of Wifi via callthrough numbers, similiar to Truphone Out+ which got introduced 4 days later. Read my regarding blog post about their feature competition: Funny feature race between Truphone and Wifimobile

Wifimobile's distingushing business case from Truphone was free unlimited calls to landlines in 40 countries for $14.99/€10.99/£7.99 - which they started to offer in May 2007, similar to what Truphone announces now. They never could get enough clients because Truphone took their breath away with their introductory offer: free calls to most countries, which Truphone extened for more than one year.

Free is even cheaper than flatrate!

Wifimobile was dismayed, every time Truphone extended its introductory offer. They had no VC to compete with that. Finally Wifimobile had to surrender and went to per minute prices on a prepaid base, similar to what Truphone offered in the last months. I covered that too in a blog post: Wifimobile again outsmarted by Truphone's free offer

From Wifimobile there is nothing to be heard anymore. No PR and their website has changed. Now they offer only the callthrough option which makes them look like a cheap calling card provider. Their founder concentrates on a business which offers cheap roaming SIM cards, similar to Truphone's SIM4travel.

Why would Truphone introduce a feature which didn't help their competitor? Are those new iPhone and Blackberry users really that price insensible?

We all know that you can get the same unlimited free calls to landlines for only €2.50 ($3.31) from Voipzoom and Voipbuster. These Betamax companies undercut every price. TruUnlimited for Mobiles is only attractive for very happy users. You have to make a lot of calls to mobile until it pays off.


  1. for most europeans i think $40.00 a month is alot for the mobile plan; but not as much so for americans. the reason is that that american make many more calls for much much greater length. it is comon for american to use thousands of minuites a month is cellular airtime.

    in particular i think this is a very good deal for americans who have a loved one or a lot of friends in europe and must call thier cell phone number.

    i do however think it may be too expensive to attract any but the very heavist callers. after mentioning the plan to a few friends everyone dsecided it would be best for us to invest in one phone with truunlimted to be shared among us. if the price were half what is is we would likely each get our own truphone plan yet use the same total number of minutes each month. of course as a VC funded company hoping to one day go public or be sold truphone may be far more interested in ARPU than profits coming out these plans.

    p.s. nice to see you posting agian; it has been quite a while

  2. TruUnlimited Mobile was actually an amazing cheap offer, to bad the company pulled it. My monthly ((truphone)) bill is regular in the £100 range, in particular when I am in Germany and always connected to WiFi of when I am using the SIM4Travel from truphone. Cannot wait until truphone local anywhere is launched. Probably the most amazing product hitting the market yet.


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