Voxtrot is building a free mobile network. The Switzerland based company is headed by Taavet Hinrikus, who happens to be Skype’s first employee. There seems to be a lot of activity in the mobile space, not only in gaming but on a deeper level to the way the whole infrastructure works. Earlier this week wrote on Blaast, who is working in a slightly similar space and now Voxtrot is pushing to be your free alternative to traditional operators (though you still need an operator agreement to access the free calls).
The app is currently available for Android in their Marketplace. Paul-Frédéric Viès, the Head of Operations, confirms that they will have an iPhone app available later on as well as support for other platforms.
The basic setup you need for Voxtrot is a data connection. Voxtrot works with all kinds of data connections, be it 2G, 3G or Wifi. The no brainer on how they plan to make money is pretty straight forward and obvious – they plan to enable calls to landlines for a cheaper price. This is very similar to Rebtel and Skype itself, but there are small differences that set the app apart from competition.
The difference Voxtrot is trying to push is its position – it’s not about being an app, it’s about being the free mobile network. That’s a very desired position to be in. Main focus with regards to this is, that Voxtrot aims to be to most integrated service to your phone to enable free phone calls (where as current competition mainly talks about being an app or a cheaper way to call your friends).
Personally speaking, I love this space. Just sometime ago I tweeted that I wish I had more friends overseas so I could give them a call through Rebtel and other services. These services grow extremely fast as well. Rebtel for example, is aiming to make $75 million this year, and the company is merely a few years old.
However, there are two concrete advantages that sets Voxtrot apart from competition based on my early review. Firstly, signing up is dead simple – the way it should be. You enter your phone number and … you’re set. Why bother with other credentials when your phone number is something that sticks with you and can be used to identify you?
Secondly, this is pretty cool, you don’t need to call your friends through another number, username, application or anything like that. Voxtrot runs in the background and checks their systems, when you’re placing the call, if the other person is also on the network to enable the free call. You simply call your friend’s number the same way you would in a normal use case. This little difference can be a game changer for the competitive situation.
The company is backed by entrepreneurs such as Michael van Swaaij and Alain Treuer and headed by Taavet Hinrikus. Michael van Swaaij has an extensive Skype background as well. He used to be the chairman and CEO of Skype. Alain Treuer founded NASDAQ listed Green Plains Renewable Energy and is investor in Virgin Connect in Russia, for example. Taavet is co-founder of the peer to peer currency exchange TransferWise and was part of the small team that started Skype in 2003.
Below is a video showing the use of Voxtrot on Android.