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July 24, 2014

WebRTC's Flexibility Could Help Upend the Mobile Industry

The promise of WebRTC is not only that it enables easy real-time communication through a browser, but also that it opens the door for greater calling innovation. With WebRTC, calling becomes something less tied to a desk phone or a smartphone, and more easily able to move among devices that aren’t even thought of as phones.

This promise could radically change telecom networks of the future, and those building new types of telecom networks today have their eye on WebRTC.

One company that’s keeping its finger on the developments of WebRTC is Truphone, which made sure it had a presence at the recent WebRTC Atlanta 2014 conference. Its business model is based on establishing a different kind of mobile network, and WebRTC plays into that.

Truphone offers a truly global mobile network that has far less instances where customers end up with roaming charges.

“We built a new type of mobile network really,” James Tagg, CTO of Truphone, told Webrtcworld during the show. “If you look at the mobile networks today, there’s one bill for each country. So there’s a complete vertical stack for every country. What we did was build one network, which is in London and Amsterdam, and that serves the whole world.”

Customers of the service can get a phone number in one of eight countries at present, and there are no roaming charges in 66 countries currently, according to Tagg.

Roaming charges are kept down by not having data travel back and forth to the home country when a customer roams.

“In building our new network, although we have our control centers in Amsterdam and London, we actually have distributed data and voice all around the world,” he told us. “We keep your data local. So if you are in America, your data stays in America and hits the local web site here. That makes a big difference.”

Having a local number in more than one country that goes to a single mobile phone also helps, something that Truphone provides.

While some customers might wonder why they would need more than one local phone number, the need becomes quickly apparent when they are traveling and need to call a cab. If their number is not local to the country they are visiting, forget getting a call-back! People don’t casually dial international numbers.

The type of network Truphone has built can play more easily with technologies such as WebRTC. In the future, for instance, it might be possible to use non-phone devices on the Truphone network through WebRTC technology.

This flexibility is why developers are increasingly looking toward WebRTC as the future of calling. While the technology still is evolving, its potential is clear to anyone looking ahead.

Edited by Adam Brandt
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