Silent Circle Ends Phone Roaming Charges

Silent Circle, a mobile telephone service provider focused on privacy and encrypted communications, announced Thursday that it would begin offering international calling plans without global roaming charges. The new service will allow employees traveling overseas to use their iOS or Android mobile phones without incurring exorbitant roaming fees.

The company has been providing smartphone apps that allow customers to make encrypted calls and text. Until now, however, the service required that both parties have the app installed on their phone.

Muscling in on the Competition

The move puts Silent Circle in direct competition with Skype and Google Voice, both of which also allow customers to use their phone while traveling abroad. It also represents an attack on traditional carriers that can charge sky-high rates to clients who use their phones while traveling abroad.

"Silent Circle is directly challenging the legacy model of mobile carriers by offering an alternative to costly mobile roaming fees. This is an especially important issue for our enterprise and government customers around the world," said Vic Hyder, Silent Circle's chief of revenue. "International fees and roaming charges account for a significant portion of European and Latin American business overhead. Our encrypted international calling service completely eliminates roaming charges while protecting members' privacy."

The Switzerland-based company said in a statement Thursday that the expansion of its encrypted VoIP service represents "a major disruption to wireless carriers' traditional mobile calling models." Silent Circle claimed its geographic coverage area is now "four to five times more than its closest non-secure competitors like Skype and Viber."

According to Silent Circle's Web site, calling plans for individuals begin at $12.95 a month for 100 minutes of calls to landlines in 79 countries and cell phones in 41, including North America, most European countries, Russia and China. Plans go up to $39.95 a month for...

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