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From mobile messaging app to mobile carrier service UppTalks new offering is unveiled

Tech prod­uct man­agers with any famil­iar­i­ty with the mobile mes­sag­ing app space will be aware that many have opt­ed to branch into the social plat­form play­book (think Line and WeChat, for exam­ple); but New York-based UppTalk (which began life in 2011 in Barcelona, Spain) has a dif­fer­ent plan. It’s tak­ing on mobile car­ri­ers with its lat­est offer­ing, Upp­Wire­less.

Pared down prices

And prod­uct man­agers work­ing for mobile car­ri­ers might just start to feel a lit­tle ner­vous: Upp­Wire­less promis­es to pare costs right down by being a SIM-based, all-IP mobile phone ser­vice.

Jochen Dop­pel­ham­mer, UppTalk’s founder and CEO, says that users will get the best deal with Upp­Wire­less because it’s unbun­dled mobile data from car­ri­er text and voice. That means it can offer a hefty 1GB of data for just $15 per month at 4G speeds; and, via its Over the Top (OTT) ser­vice, it’s offer­ing unlim­it­ed text and talk with­in Cana­da and the U.S. (unlim­it­ed data is avail­able for $35 per month).

The more obser­vant prod­uct man­ag­er may note that Free­dom­Pop offers its rival data, text and talk ser­vice for just $5 a month, but Dop­pel­ham­mer insists this isn’t com­par­ing apples with apples. Free­dom­Pop offers just 500MB of data for this price and users who want the $5 deal must pay for two years’ ser­vice upfront.

Warn­ing to car­ri­ers: dis­rup­tion ahead

Although Upp­Wire­less pig­gy­backs on T‑Mobile’s 4G net­work, it’s not a straight mobile vir­tu­al net­work oper­a­tor. Dop­pel­ham­mer explains that it resem­bles an MVNO in some respects but with a key dif­fer­ence: every­thing Upp­Wir­less does is IP-based, so there are no cel­lu­lar min­utes or SMS. He went on:

“We’re 100% cloud-based ser­vice plat­form. This allows a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent ser­vice offer­ing and of course pric­ing strat­e­gy, e.g. calls & texts to any US & Cana­da phone num­ber are free, unlim­it­ed! The user basi­cal­ly just choos­es the data plans that fits best his needs.

“This caters specif­i­cal­ly to the tar­get seg­ments that pri­mar­i­ly want to use their apps on their smart­phones and only sec­on­dar­i­ly use their phone to talk & text, which prob­a­bly by now is the major­i­ty of the smart­phone users.”

The new offer­ing, we think, has got legs. In the U.S. at least, the stale pric­ing struc­tures of mobile car­ri­ers are ripe for a lit­tle dis­rup­tion. Upp­Wire­less looks poised to give them a good shake.

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