T-Mobile today becomes the latest operator to leverage the popularity of free internet phone calls and texts in hopes of luring in more users around its brand. CleverConnect borrows from services like Skype and Rebtel with an offer of free VoIP calls and text to those who download and use the app, which is now live in the App Store and in the Google Play Android store.
Similar to Bobsled in the UK and services like TuMe from Telefonica, CleverConnect is aimed at bringing in users that are not necessarily already part of T-Mobile’s service. Unlike Bobsled, the service is available in multiple regions. Although the app is already in the App Store you need an invite code to use it for now, and it looks like you need to be a T-Mobile subscriber to set off that chain. TechCrunch understands, however, that those who get invited can bring in another three users to trial the service, regardless of country or carrier.
As with those other apps, users will need either WiFi or 3G to make the service work.
It has been developed in connection with a Danish mobile VoIP startup called Vopium. For those interested in mobile VoIP, this is a name you should watch — the company started first with its own B2C mobile VoIP services but now is out making deals and developing services with operators — T-Mobile’s CleverConnect being only the first, apparently. That’s filling a gap at a time when companies like Skype are not giving themselves over in similar white-label arrangements.
While users the apps will be able to make free phone calls when calling each other, the service will also offer users flat-rates for other calls as well. Those will be charged at 2p per minute in the UK and 5p per minute for the U.S. and Canada. 100 minute packages will go for $4.99, the site says.
Since T-Mobile launched Bobsled in the U.S., first as a Facebook app then as a standalone service, it’s been unclear how much traction the service has had.