Rebtel continues to focus on mobile only (though you can use it through PC using various Android emulators) and has around 20 million users. CEO Andreas Bernström — check out our exclusive interview with the executive — says revenue could reach $100 million this year from the $80 million it achieved in 2012, and says revenue could grow to $150 million to $200 million within the next three years at a time when it expects to break the 50 million user mark. The company has been profitable since 2010.
“Listing is certainly an option,” Bernström said. “My view is that in a couple of years, if the market allows it, that might be an interesting option.”
Bernstrom said the company has three major strategies to boost growth. Rebtel plans to launch a calling feature for apps which will allow online poker players to chat for free during games and internet daters to share more than emails and pictures. A money-transfer option is also in the works, which will essentially turn Rebtel into a Western Union or Moneygram of sorts to take advantage of a market that makes $480 billion annually. Finally, the company intends to expand and develop its products into stand-alone apps, such as one that would allow travelers to avoid international roaming charges, perfect for global SIM card users.
VoIP players are creating a major headache for traditional telecom companies, whose voice calls make up the bulk of revenue. Some VoIP service providers such as Nimbuzz and even Skype have made some attempts to play nice with cellular carriers. Still, the fact remains that VoIP services will continue to cut into the mobile operators’ bottom line.
Some operators, like Sweden’s TeliaSonera, have even initially tried to block their subscribers from using VoIP or have looked into charging customers extra for using such services, but these attempts haven’t been successful, forcing carriers to adapt to a changing and more competitive landscape.
From the looks of these plans, it looks like Rebtel is certainly prepared to do a little adapting of its own.