STOCKHOLM Feb 7 Rebtel, which says it is the
world's second-biggest provider of voice calls over the Internet
after Skype, could go for a stock market listing in the next two
to three years if it meets its growth targets, its CEO said.
Voice over Internet (VoIP) players like Rebtel and Skype
offer calls for free or at a fraction of the cost charged by
traditional telecom operators and have been growing rapidly in
While Skype, bought by Microsoft Corp for $8.5
billion in 2011, initially focused on video calls over PCs,
Rebtel's service is accessed by a mobile phone app.
It has around 20 million users compared with Skype's 145
Chief Executive Andreas Bernstrom sees revenue rising to
more than $100 million this year from $80 million in 2012, and
to between $150 million and $200 million in three years, he told
By that time its user base should have grown to 50 million,
"Listing is certainly an option," Bernstrom said. "My view
is that in a couple of years, if the market allows it, that
might be an interesting option."
Rebtel has been profitable since 2010.
VoIP players are creating a major headache for traditional
telecom companies, whose voice calls make up the bulk of
revenue. Plunging prices have offset growth from video downloads
and mobile internet use on smartphones and tablets.
Some operators, like Sweden's TeliaSonera,
initially tried to block their subscribers from using VoIP and
then mulled charging extra, but now they are having to adapt
pricing and business models to the new competitive landscape.
Bernstrom said the company, majority owned by its founders
Hjalmar Winbladh and Jonas Lindroth and backed by UK venture
capital funds Index Ventures and Balderton Capital, has three
major strategies to boost growth.
The first is the launch of a calling feature for apps which
will allow online poker players to chat for free during games
and internet daters to share more than emails and pictures.
The second strand is money transfer, where Rebtel intends to
take on the likes of Western Union and Moneygram
in what Bernstrom said was a $480 billion-a-year market.
Finally, the company intends to expand and develop its
products into stand-alone apps, such as one that would allow
travellers to avoid roaming charges.
"If the business is earning $150 to 200 million with a 15
percent EBITDA margin, then the business is worth a lot of
money," Bernstrom said.