This article was published on August 26, 2008

Cheap international calls service Rebtel blocked by O2


Cheap international calls service Rebtel blocked by O2
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

Rebtel, a Luxembourg and Sweden-based start-up that provides cheap international mobile calls, has been blocked in Germany by operator O2.

Rebtel has found a way to take expensive international calls out of the hands of the mobile operators and make them cheaper by using the Internet. The Word Wide Web functions as a rerouting system that connects local calls around the globe. Users receive an alternative number that’s connected to the number they want to call. There go the operator’s margins.

Here’s Rebtel’s side of the story, as expressed on their blog:

The reason why O2 wants to stop Rebtel is pretty obvious. They have very high margins on their international calling and want to stop any threats to that. Their actions violate not only the crystal clear EU-regulations but are also a breach of your contract with O2(!).

The mobile technology company has now started a so-called “race” with O2. Like a true reb(t)el would, they’ve just launched another series of numbers. Which, of course, O2 will block as soon as possible. Although Rebtel’s fighting spirit is admirable and charming, the service does become unreliable for O2 users. We’ll keep you posted on how the race develops.