A Swiss-based telecommunications company, TelFree, has made ripples recently with the launch of an innovative Skype-like VOIP service developed right here in our very own back yard.
The company has now released a new iPhone application of its offering, available for download in the iTunes App Store.
The application’s biggest innovation is that it features “push-call technology”, making it possible for users to receive calls and messages even though the application isn’t actively running on the device, or has even been signed into.
This is beneficial for those mobile operating systems that do not support multi-tasking, or the ability to run multiple applications simultaneously. Other VOIP applications like Skype, cannot receive calls or messages if not open on the device.
The person behind the project is former Yeigo CEO Rapelang Rabana. Yeigo was an innovative Cape Town-based start-up that hit the skids under financial pressures some time ago. The company then offered one of the world’s very first mobile VOIP app solutions.
It’s thought that some of the thinking and technology around Telfree’s application originates from Yeigo.
Dedicated ‘087’ number
Inbound calls can also be made to non-Telfree users by dialing an specially-created “087” number that can be integrated with a user’s regular GSM mobile service.
Users can also use Telfree’s application to e-mail, SMS, and do their instant messaging via popular IM platforms and some social networking chat platforms. The application also supports SMS threading, making it easier for users to follow conversations.
Rabana, now going as the Global Head of the locally-based Telfree R&D unit, says the application “allows Apple iPhone, iPod Touch (as well as other selected smart-phones) users to access easier and cheaper communication over the internet which in SA has been further bolstered by the recent reduction in broadband costs.”
Rabana says the app is optimised to “use only half the usual required internet data and six times less battery power when the phone is idle”.
Like most other VOIP-based services, the application charges one global flat rate to fixed lines and mobile phones but is free when a user phones another Telfree user.
Telfree’s applications can be accessed either from the app store or their website www.telfree.com.
Users can also SMS “telfree” to 39642 (SA only).