VoxOx Launches Text Callback Service for International Calls

6/8/09Follow @bvbigelow

After launching a beta version of its free VoxOx universal communications service in November, San Diego’s TelCentris is rolling out a revision today that could make it easier for VoxOx users to place low-cost international calls.

The privately held startup says it has updated its SMS (text messaging) service so that you can place an international call by sending a text message to a special access phone number. The text message consists of just the international telephone number you want to call. The system automatically dials the phone number in the text message as well as the mobile phone that sent the text, and then connects the two.

The SMS CallBack feature does not require an Internet connection, but users need to set up the feature through an authorization process. VoxOx says SMS CallBack calls are less expensive than standard international calls because they use the TelCentris telecommunications infrastructure to place the calls to each party, and then connect them together.

“We make it possible to make cheap calls from any mobile phone in the world,” says TelCentris CEO Bryan Hertz. Rates vary, and most international calls cost between 1 cent and 6 cents a minute, according to Hertz. A call between the United States and Budapest, Hungary, costs slightly more than 2 cents a minute, while a call between the U.S. and the Central African Republic runs almost 31 cents a minute. The rates are comparable with international calling cards that can be purchased online, but the text messaging feature offers greater convenience.

Hertz says SMS CallBack is part of VoxOx, a service that unifies voice, video, instant messaging, email, fax, text messaging, social media, and other communications channels into a single user interface. “We basically founded the company to give away universal communications services to the masses,” Hertz says, “Kind of what Hotmail did for email.”

Hertz acknowledges that TelCentris faces plenty of competition. “There are competitors out there, but to our knowledge there is no one who does everything, to have all of these different communications channels in a single user interface.”

TelCentris was founded in 2006 by Hertz, his brother Kevin, who is the chief technical officer, and their father Bob, the chief information officer. The startup, which was funded by the Hertz family and angel investors, now has 43 employees.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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