Skype me! – Truphone adds Skype to iPhone

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With the launch of Skype integration, Truphone’s mobile VoIP service is fast becoming a unified client for other VOIP and messaging services. As well as the ability to make low-cost calls over Wi-Fi or GSM networks and send cheap SMS, it is now supporting Skype and other messaging services via its application for the iPhone or iTouch. The software comes out on Jan. 12, at which point you’ll be able to make and receive Skype calls and IM to other Skype users. Truphone has also added full two-way instant messaging over MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk on the iPod touch as of now and on Jan. 12 for the iPhone. Admittedly you can already use Fring or Nimbuzz iPhone apps to access Skype, but neither of these also integrate VOIP or GSM voice calls as seamlessly. Truphone has already added Twitter integration.

Clearly the idea of all these new services is to keep users inside the Truphone app for longer and thus garner more revenues from users making calls over their Truphone account [For current Truphone call rates, see here]. However, the introduction of Skype calling will likely be a double-edged sword for Truphone. People may stay in the app for longer, but Truphone won’t make any revenues out of its users using Skype. In addition it remains the case that Truphone won’t run inthe background, so you really do have to keep the app open all the time if you are waiting for a Skype call. Still, it’s a welcome new feature and strong incentive for people to download the app in the first place.

In December, Truphone re-vamped its iPhone app with two crucial new features. The first, dubbed Truphone Anywhere enables iPhone users to make low-priced international calls via the GSM network even when they are not connected to Wi-Fi. Prior to this you needed WiFi. The second is that inbound Truphone calling on the iPhone was added. In addition Truphone are able to indicate ‘presence’, as in ‘available’ or not.

The new year sees Truphone hunkering down for the economic downturn. Last year CEO James Tagg moved downwards to Chief Architect. New CEO Geraldine Wilson was brought in from Yahoo’s mobile division to shake up the company and set it on a more commercial path. They also moved from plush offices overlooking London’s Tower Bridge, to more spartan offices nearby. Truphone has £31.5m funding.

  • Michael Rose

    Fantastic news for iPod touch users.
    All we need now is a cheap headset/mic for a poor man’s iPhone conversion.

  • Jens Gregersen

    Great! Fring, now truephone. All that is missing is iChat for your iphone/iPod touch….

  • Morten Bjerre

    This sounds great!!! I was wondering when an like this app would come out.

    How about iChat on the iPhone?? Could be a good idea with the Bonjour function on the iPhone…

  • chris

    ..”inbound Truphone calling on the iPhone” – how does that work? Would I need to have the Truphone app running all the time in order to receive a call?

  • Bhavishya Kanjhan

    It doesn’t allow Skypeout calling though right? Noone would really purchase Truphone credits then!

  • Dungiis

    Great news for people who are using Skype and no problem with me

  • G S

    fring on iPhone and iPod Touch also hasTwitter integrated…

  • Mike Butcher

    chris – Truphone makes calls to any phone number Truphone user or not – just cheaper if they are a Truphone user I gather.

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  • Stefan Menden

    Thats great news.

    @Mike: Yes, calling truphone users is actually free. I use it all the time.

    For me the best feature is actually truphone anywhere, being able to make international calls from my mobile phone without fearing a high mobile bill anymore.

    We will comment on the truphone news on our blog later tonight or tomorrow:

  • Alexander Straub

    Just to point out IM on the mobile is such an exciting product that IM+ from Shape Services and other have been top of the charts of iPhone apps for months. So ((truphone)) felt this is needed in future apps as customers liked it.

    The December Change of Presence on the iPhone inside the ((truphone)) app has enabled me to finally see when all my TruFriends (enabled) are in WiFi or not, I am then able to launch in the highest voice quality a CALL to them wherever they are in the world (yes even within my own country).

    Now with IM integrated I can ask them if they are busy or not before I make this important ((truphone)) call.

    What just got easier with ((truphone))

    I had three apps, one for IM, one for twitter, one for Voice Calling over VoIP, NOW I got one called ((truphone)), and in my case it sits right on the bottom left hand side of the iPhone
    *(I guess it used to be the place of the OTHER GREEN Call Button linking me here in the UK to my mobile Network operator called O2. ;-) in the US to AT&T.

    What does this mean for you the customer of ((truphone)):

    1) You can enable your whole friends base into truphone users ((TruFriends)) and call them all for FREE on ((truphone)) anywhere in the world

    2) You can call them still for the cost of a GSM call when you are on the road (no matter where they are in the world), UK, US, China, Pakistan, Philippines or Poland, etc

    3) You can chat to them all day long on various IM platforms, GTalk, Skype, MSN, Yahoo, etc.

    4) You can get all the twitter updates of your friends all day long within the same APP

    I think this TOPS it for me!

    * Straub Ventures is an early stage / SEED investor and very involved into the strategy direction of the company, and we DO love ((truphone))

  • Paul

    I assume that Truphone have set up an affiliate relationship with Skype to get a piece of topup credits at least.

    Great move on their part though as Fring has not been releasing regular feature updates as quickly as Truphone.

  • Andrea Hill

    Looking forward to it! I use fring now, but I can only use Skype for chat, not calling.

  • Yasser

    Wow, Truphone definitely steppin’ up, was very dissapointed the first time round, hope to be proven wrong the second time.

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  • Adolf bin Streisand

    So why is all this happening? Companies like Fring, Truphone, Skype, Nimbuzz, et al…what’s the point?

    One, and one point only: they’ve discovered a clumsy work around that allows callers to get lower rates. Great, but there’s no long term differentiators. Absolutely none. These guys all buy transport from someone up the telco food chain.

    Someone from Truphone tell me whats wrong with this analysis? Tell us all why you have something that is unique? Tell us all how you’ll be the first telco in history that doesn’t have to worry about creating scale on the billions of minutes magnitude.

  • hoorace

    I use Skype only for call ,not for chat .in china ,QQ is the best instant message software!

  • Mobile Application Design

    Truphone, Fringe are all great products but the sound quality is horrible, at least for me. I get big lag times. I think the technology needs to be worked on more than stuffing it with features. Then again, man are these services cheap!

  • Puleen Patel

    I have tried many a times to install the application to the iPod Touch (8GB) but have not been successful. Always get an error stating “Application Not Compatible” & “Can only be used on an iPhone”.

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  • Scott Jones

    Had the same Puleen.

    Seems that it only works on the newer Touch’s…the one’s that were released about 4 months ago?

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  • james (mjelly)

    Nimbuzz also integrates with Skype on mobile

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  • Kristoffer Lawson

    I might have missed it, but will the upcoming version of truphone allow Skype calls even over 3G? That limitation is incredibly frustrating with any of the options available right now. I realise it’s Apple and/or AT&T behind that, but European operators don’t all limit 3G use for VOIP calls and it’s embarrassing that other phone users get to do that.

    • Vlad

      “Truphone won’t run in the background, so you really do have to keep the app open all the time if you are waiting for a Skype call.”

      Wow, amazing.

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