Voiceserve unveiled the latest version of Vippie at the Mobile World Congress (News - Alert) in Barcelona, and the company said the release got traction with attendees. However, despite the positive feedback, Vippie faces an uphill battle in gaining share of the VoIP app market.
Middlesex, U.K.-based Voiceserve offers a variety of VoIP services for service providers to offer to retail and business customers. Its Vippie app is very similar to Skype (News - Alert):
- It is available as a desktop or mobile app
- Vippie users can contact each other for free
- The app can make voice and video calls and be used to call domestic or international phone numbers.
In addition to the features that Vippie shares with Skype, it also offers pay-as-you- go calling plans and intends to offer money transfers in the future. Vippie’s international calling rates are about the same as Skype’s.
While the functionality is comprehensive, Vippie is going to face challenges in gaining share from industry giants Skype and Viber. In fact, Skype and Viber each have around 300 million users. Google Play store stats suggest this is plausible: the Android (News - Alert) versions both Skype and Viber are in the range of 100-500 million installs. By comparison, Vippie has 500K to 1 million installs.
So how can Vippie stand out among these two giants? One area may be in offering better security. At the beginning of the year, for example, Skype was hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army. Anecdotal reports on the web of bad customer service from Skype may also be something Voiceserve can take advantage of. In addition, Facebook’s (News - Alert) recent acquisition of WhatsApp and Viber getting bought out by Rakuten are additional obstacle to getting market traction.
That said, as WhatsApp demonstrated, there is always room for innovative new services that can ramp quickly. In the VoIP and messaging market things do change fast and a service provider looking for competitive edge might think Vippie is just the thing to set them apart.
Edited by Peter Bernstein