VoIP Service Rebtel Trounces Skype On ARPU

Rebtel which claims to be the world's second largest VoIP company in the world, after Skype, announced today that it had enlisted its 10 millionth user worldwide.

While this is desperately low compared to Skype, which had more than 663 million user accounts towards the end of 2010, Rebtel's doing pretty well when it comes to revenue with the average revenue per user reaching $4.00 based on last year's revenue figures (at the current run-rate, it reaches $5.50).

That compares very favourably with Skype whose ARPU for 2010 stood at just over $1.20. Five-year old Rebtel is a relative newcomer in the world of VoIP but has managed to double its user base in the last 12 months and one billionth international minute milestone reached (Skype in comparison did 3.1 billion SkypeOUT minutes in Q3 2009).

Rebtel approach differs from Skype in that it focuses mainly, like many VoIP player, on the lucrative market of international phone calls rather than free calls. Indeed, Rebtel piggybacks on Skype for PC to Phone calls.

In addition, Rebtel offers free overseas calls between two Rebtel countries, a list that currently includes 53 countries including like Algeria and Jordan. The announcement by the firm comes as analyst company, Frost & Sullivan said that it nominated Rebtel for its "emerging company of the year award" because it was impressed by its revenue figures and high growth rates.

The VoIP market though is an increasingly crowded place as Google and others plan to make a splash by trying to bundle other services. With Skype's in the process of launching an IPO in 2011, now is a good time for Rebtel to get a share of voice and get anyone to focus on what's probably the most important factors in the business, growing ARPU and profitabilty with minimum investment.

With revenues expected to double to $75 million by the end of the year, Rebtel could prove to be an attractive target for an aggressive acquirer (Facebook or Apple maybe), given that O2/Telefonica paid $200m for Jajah back in 2009.