Rebtel Makes International Calling Cheap and Easy

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Rebtel logoSweden-based Rebtel have launched a product that will allow users to dial any international number at the cost of a local call. It works by having the two ends of the call use local connections (over low-cost local calls) to a VoIP point and then bridge the call to the recipient at the other end over the net.

I am sitting here at AlwaysOn conference watching the CEO, Hjalmar Winbladh, demo the product as part of the CEO showcase that Mike Arrington is moderating. Rebtel has received a good reception with the audience and the judges here as it seems to be a simple, yet inovative solution for the high costs of long-distance telephone calls.

You can try the product by filling out the form on the front page of their website. It will send an SMS to both the initiator of the call as well as the recipient and then connect the two ends. It will setup a local number for each friend you setup. The cost of each number that is setup is $1 per week, which is for unlimited calling to the other end.

The company is based in Sweden and was founded by serial-entrepreneur Hjalmar Winbladh, the founder of SendIt (which was acquired by Microsoft in ’99) and a General Manager for Microsoft Mobile solutions in Europe.

  • Joshua Fingold

    Will this open up sharing/extraction of contacts also or just the events stream?

    • Television Watcher

      hopefully they add a lot more data to mess around with.

  • John Wunderlich

    Opening up ‘user contributed data’ also opens up the potential for exposing limited use (i.e. private) data beyond the constraints that have been set in the Facebook privacy controls.

    One can only hope that user controls over the distribution of their own data will be extended as well.

  • The Dude Dean

    The more they copy, the more they become the same.

    • barefootmeg

      the problem i see isn’t that they’re just copying, but that they’re throwing things into their mix without seeming to have any overall game plan for where they’re headed. it seems more like a site that a bunch of college kids threw together than like a site that’s going to make it for the long term. there are other sites where i can see where they’re headed and i can see how they’re new improvements, etc. fit into the over all plan. but when FB adds something, it seems like it knocks everyone off balance because it doesn’t seem to fit with the direction everyone thought they were going in.

  • Jordan Puchinger

    @JoshuaFingold, visit there are a few API’s out there already that allow you to collect such information.

  • Michael Hussein Markman

    I can understand the impulse that Dave is channeling, every brand wants their own stovepipe. But not every user wants to play at Chinese plate spinning, running from one bamboo stick to another in hopes that the plates won’t slow and fall. I’m weary of checking FB, FF, Twitter, email, RSS readers, YouTube, etc. etc.

    If Dave is right and a thousand twitters bloom, Steve is more right, the user’s will want to filter them and have them all show up in one place.

    Stovepipes in social media might make sense behind a firewall, inside an organization, but as a consumer of communication, news, and random spewage, I want control of the filter.

  • barefootmeg

    “Facebook will open up most if not all of their user-contributed data to developers” — that doesn’t sound like the privacy setting i selected for my content. :-P

    yet one more reason why facebook is not the place to be if you have privacy concerns.

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  • Paul Lopez

    Lots of speculation regarding Feeds and Shared Items until tomorrow. It will be hard for FB to put the crown jewels back in the box. A uber-client for Twitter and Facebook combined would relegate FB to a social interface hub rather than a destination.

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  • Josh

    Meh. I don’t think it’s going to do jack.

    You know what would happen if Facebook opened up all or significantly more data to developers? You’d get the chance to add significantly more retarded apps to your profile. That’s it. Big deal.

    This won’t be any society changing paradigm shift like email was back in the AOL days.

    Then again, this IS the same crowd that feels Twitter is a killer web app… There’s only so many ways you can stream vanity.

    Additionally, if I need fail-over instant communications, I’ll pick up a damn phone. Not write a Tweet or any other ridiculous, hippie, web 2.0 dopiness.

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  • socialnerdia

    A more “open” Facebook means more real-time refresh-less updates. Let’s just hope we can make sense and use of it.

  • Resveratrol

    Hmm, very interesting. I’m definitely intrigued to see what potential this will have. Thanks for the news.

    • JerseyCash5

      exactly the main feature have a lot of potential.

  • JacobKorn

    I dunno how much this benefits the general user who values their privacy.

    Most of my friends would be considered general users, eg not using for business and still understand what a phone is.

    They don’t give a rats ass about twitter or a lot of these other advances. Everyone I’ve mentioned twitter to thought it was a useless wast of time, which is sad because i think it can be fun.

    My point is the majority of users (at least here in New Zealand) don’t care. They just want a platform to procrastinate with and chat now and then. When they hear things like “Facebook will open up most if not all of their user-contributed data to developers” they get scared and may even be driven away.

  • Freehill Media Website Design

    I bet Chris from Faraday/Data-Portability will be pleased to read this.

  • John Davis

    Wow, that is most impressive. Well done dude!


  • Failbook

    Facebook has become an embarassment.


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  • pthomas

    Hey Steve & TC … I know you have a steak in Friendfeed … stop promoting it already … better than twitter? huh? where that came from ???

    • mtaber

      mmm, steak

  • HotelSinRenoNevada

    ummmm… not very impressed, we’ll see how it works.

  • Joe Dawson

    I treat each social network differently, Facebook I would consider the least exposed with Twitter next followed by Friendfeed which receives the majority – if not all – of my shared content. That said using Facebook Connect I am sharing a lot of activity back the the newsfeed now!

    Facebook may be about to drop it’s other shoe but they need to remain true to the user especially in regards to privacy!

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  • Sandy Allnock

    Interesting…new enough to all this to not be certain what it means, but I’m already on overload keeping up with all the streams, accounts, what I use them for (business ones, personal ones) …. if the changes make my life easier, great, but it adds more complexity, my brain is going to explode. Seriously.

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