* Unveils new app combining telephony, Internet calls
* 13 mln downloads, says No 2 mobile VoIP firm
* Sees revenue run-rate reaching $100 mln next year
By Tarmo Virki, European Technology Correspondent
Oct 13 Swedish startup Rebtel, the second
largest mobile Internet telephony firm after Skype, expects
sales to surge next year based on strong initial demand for its
new application combining Internet calls and traditional
Venture-backed Rebtel has built a clientele of 13 million
users offering cheap international calls for cellphone users,
and it aims to reach $100 million annual revenue rate during
next year, compared with $62 million revenue seen for 2011.
It unveiled on Thursday its new application for
international calls, which provides free calls between Rebtel
users, and technology enabling switching between traditional
voice calls and Internet calls if call quality drops too low.
Rebtel says its the second largest mobile VoIP (Voice over
Internet Protocol) provider after Skype, which Microsoft is buying for $8.5 billion. Internet protocol services
offer free voice and video calls routed over Internet
Andreas Bernstrom, Rebtel's chief executive, said the
ability to use also telecom networks and allow calling to any
number, including landlines or simple cellphone models, make
the offering stand out among rivals.
Operators have tried to block such services in some
countries and Bernstrom forecast the battle for $628 billion
voice calls market to continue.
"We're kind of a friend and an enemy for operators: from
wholesale perspective they like us, but from consumer
perspective they don't," Bernstrom said.
Index Ventures and Benchmark Capital invested $20 million
in Rebtel in 2006 and Bernstrom said there were no imminent
plans to raise more capital as the firm turned profitable last
year, but said this could change if launch of the new app goes
well and capital markets would be better.
"It might make sense to arrange Series B," he said.