France Telecom is the latest major mobile operator to launch a free VoIP and messaging app, taking on the likes of WhatsApp and Skype.
The Orange brand today has relaunched Libon, previously a visual voicemail service, as a free iOS app available in 90 markets. An Android version is to arrive early next year.
Libon 2.0 offers free HD voice calls between Libon users, SMS-style text messaging, personalised voicemail, voice-to-text and cloud storage. Any user can download the app – it is not limited to Orange subscribers.
A premium service will allow users an hour of international calling every month to landlines or mobile numbers in 31 countries.
While mobile VoIP services are seen as major threat to operator voice revenue, many operators have launched services that directly compete with offerings from the so-called over-the-top players. Telefonica launched a ‘global communicator’ app called TuMe earlier this year, while T-Mobile USA has a VoIP service called Bobsled.
Orange said that Libon would also be compatible with RCS services such as group chat, files transfer, on-call content sharing from next year. “Orange is convinced that RCS standard embedded in the handsets and in downloadable applications is a key factor for the rapid expansion of this standard built under GSMA supervision,” the operator said.