Silent Circle takes on Skype, mobile telcos with encrypted landline calling

Silent Circle takes on Skype, mobile telcos with encrypted landline calling

Summary: Silent Circle has launched an encrypted IP voice calling service in 79 countries, with a particular focus on hooking enterprise customers.

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Going up against mobile telecom giants including Skype and Viber, Silent Circle has announced a global encrypted voice calling service on the heels of launching the 'surveillance-proof' Blackphone.

The company aims to disrupt traditional communication services, whether it be tech firms, telcos or handset makers. The launch of the new service, the Global Encrypted Calling Plan, is likely to be of concern to traditional companies as it is billed as "50 percent less expensive" and, of course, appeals to the security-conscious. For enterprises and individuals wishing to keep their communications data private, the Blackphone and encrypted plan may eventually become the product of choice -- especially as services such as Skype are now known to lack protection to keep conversations private.

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Blackphone: A smartphone designed to stop spying eyes

Blackphone: A smartphone designed to stop spying eyes

A new smartphone is soon to hit the shelves. Developed by security experts including those from Silent Circle, they say that privacy will be placed in the hand of the user -- and surveillance will be made far more difficult.

In a blog post, the CEO of Silent Circle Mike Janke said the firm "offers better value and a more secure communication ecosystem for enterprises and individuals seeking privacy and security," and Silent Circle is "just getting started" on disrupting the industry.

Details of the Global Encrypted Calling Plan were released on Thursday. As well as including all three end-to-end encrypted Silent Circle apps, a feature called "Out Circle Calling" is likely to be of most interest to firms as it expands on the Silent Phone app and allows encrypted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls to be made to landlines. Once a user enrols in the scheme they are given a VoIP option for calling both mobile and public switched telephone network (PSTN) lines.

Out Circle Calling begins at $12.95 for 100 minutes per month as well as unlimited member-to-member voice calls and texts. If you need more minutes you can sign up for 250 monthly minutes at a cost of $19.95, and $39.95 per month for 1,000 minutes. The service will be available in 79 countries.

Silent Circle says the service is offered in far more regions than "non-secure competitors," such as Skype and Viber, and its new service is likely to appeal to anyone who expects a certain level of privacy.

Janke commented:

"The facts are that Out-Circle Calling provides a low-cost, private alternative to traditional mobile calling plans that everyone from your neighbor to traveling multinational executives can use. The expanded geographic reach - combined with the superb call quality and unsurpassed built-in privacy features of Silent Phone - further extend Silent Circle's lead in helping individuals and enterprises safely communicate across town or around the world.

We don't want to sell 100 million phones, we simply want to own the secure enterprise and prosumer market. It's a journey for us and will take time, but it’s already happening."

The Silent Phone app is available on Android and iOS devices, as well as desktops running Windows.

In May, Silent Circle announced it has raised $30 million in funding to prompt accelerated growth and to meet demand for the privacy-based Blackphone.

Topics: Security, Government US, Mobility, Privacy

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