Silent Circle takes on operators, OTTs with encrypted voice calls

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Security company Silent Circle has launched an encrypted IP calling service, offering secure calls to people in 79 countries.

The service will pit the company against traditional operators, as well as OTT players like Skype and Viber. Out-Circle calling allows Silent Circle subscribers to call fellow customers or non-subscribers without roaming charges. Users can make high-fidelity encrypted voice calls to mobile and public switched telephone networks across cellular and wi-fi networks.

Subscribers who sign up to the plan will be given a unique 10 digit phone number. Calling plans range from around €9.50 for 100 minutes to around €30 for 1,000 minutes.

Vic Hyder, Silent Circle’s Chief of Revenue, said: "With Out-Circle Calling, Silent Circle is directly challenging the legacy model of mobile carriers by offering an alternative to costly mobile roaming fees. This is an especially important issue for our enterprise and government customers around the world.

“International fees and roaming charges account for a significant portion of European and Latin American business overhead. Our encrypted international calling service completely eliminates roaming charges while protecting members with the use of Silent Phone."

The move follows Silent Circle rewriting its iOS messaging app in May, which allowed users to send secure messages to people who were not subscribers of the service. The company has also teamed up with Geeksphone to build the highly secure Blackphone, which began shipping last month. Silent Circle also provides a desktop service, which offers private videoconferencing for laptop and desktop computer users.

The move towards LTE networks has fuelled greater spending in security products, with Nokia announcing earlier this year it was launching its own unit to build products that defend against threats.