Truphone raises £16.5 million Series B to attack mobile operators

truphonelogo.pngUK-based Truphone, a VoIP service provider for mobile phones, has announced a £16.5 million ($32.7 million) Series B round of financing, adding to the £12.5 million ($24.5 million) raised a year ago. The round was led by private investors, with all of Truphone’s existing backers – Burda Digital Ventures, Eden Ventures, Independent News & Media and Wellington Partners – also participating. Absent from the funding announcement was a mention of cofounder Alexander Straub or previous investor Straub Ventures , although Straub has since confirmed that they participated in the round.

All that money will be used to back its expansion and attack on the mobile carrier market, something Fring and others are joining it in. All this is assuming you can get the client Truphone software on your handset, which works best on the Nokia N-Series. With the recent purchase of SIM4travel, Truphone has also created a GSM core network, which will enable it to offer low-cost GSM calls worldwide via a travel SIM. The aim is to provide a “killer” combination of a single, global SIM card that offers low call and internet calls at free (between Truphone users) and or low prices.

Back in March, Truphone announced its first pricing structure which enables customers to call 40 countries from anywhere on the planet for 3 pence per minute to landlines and 15 pence per minute to mobiles. Calls to other Truphone users remained free. This pricing was aimed squarely at the roaming charges levied by most mobile operators. A 10 minute call from Europe to a UK landline with Vodafone’s International Call Saver option currently costs a UK Vodafone customer £3.80. Truphone says the same call on their service would cost 30 pence. And a UK Vodafone customer on its International Call Saver option is currently charged 75 pence per minute to answer a call in the USA.

Carriers are not enjoying this market disruption and are fighting back in the courts. But Truphone recently won its action against T-Mobile, after the carrier – an investor in competitor Jajah kicked Truphone off the network.