Viber is a cross-platform messaging and VoIP app, and its latest iteration extends calls, IM and even video conferencing to desktop users. At approximately 200 million, its user base is particularly impressive, even compared to the likes of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat and LINE. But how does Viber earn profits from this popularity? Is it going to match or outlast the likes of Skype?
Apart from adopting a freemium model and selling IM stickers and emoticons on its sticker store, there is no clear word yet as to how the Cyprus-based Viber Media aims to generate revenues out of its cross-platform app and its rapidly growing user-base.
Routing non-Viber calls through Viber
Recently, information published on Israeli tech blog Geektime is hinting a new possible model through which Viber plans to generate revenues. It appears that Viber is set to implement a feature that would allow its app to intercept regular phone calls, essentially hijacking the call from the cellular network. This only works, though, with carriers that have an agreement with Viber to taking over call termination for international calls.
Call termination is the process of forwarding a call to a PBX server referred to as a terminator, which is basic step in the processing of international calls. Each call made passes through a wireless carrier that forwards a call to a PBX central redirector that, in turn, determines which terminator to use. The terminator then routes the call to a wireless carrier that connects the call to the intended receiving phone. In this case, with Viber as the terminator, it can decide to call the recipient using its own network.
How Viber aims to make money with this setup
Terminators are chosen based on inter-corporate contracts. Companies that wish to take charge of call termination would have to negotiate with local carriers to be designated as terminators, to obtain the right to transfer outgoing calls from one country to another. Of course, being designated as a terminator means receiving revenues that could be as high as 1.5 euro cents (about US$0.02) per minute.
Viber Media reportedly aims to become a terminator for various carriers in countries where the Viber app is popularly used. Geektime reported that Viber Media has already initiated a pilot project with a Dutch mobile telecommunications company.
In the pilot project, an outgoing call made through the Dutch mobile operator passes through Viber (as terminator) and is forwarded to the Viber app if the intended receiver of that call is a Viber user. If the intended call receiver is not a Viber user, the call will be transferred accordingly.
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Via: Android Authority