When Skype was launched a decade ago, it heralded a new concept in mobile communications. Now, its pioneering template of free internet-based conversations has been taken to another level by the launch of yuilop – a free cloud-based communications platform with truly global reach.
Operated through a downloadable app for iOS, Android, Windows and BlackBerry devices, yuilop enables people to send and receive free calls and messages, across 3G, 4G, LTE or Wi-Fi. Once the app is installed, users are allocated a dedicated mobile phone number starting with the conventional 07 prefix. Because yuilop utilises the Public Switched Telephone Network, this effectively establishes a fully functioning mobile account without requiring a handset or contract. Calls and texts can be made and received from phones, tablets and even iPods, sharing the same number on multiple devices, with no roaming charges while travelling.
Unusually, it isn’t necessary for the recipient of a call or message to be a yuilop customer as well, although a system of credits provides additional incentives over and above the primary benefit of avoiding usage charges. These credits are earned for activities including receiving calls or text messages, introducing other users to the platform, watching ads or downloading promotions. Indeed, the yuilop system works best when all parties are subscribed, with the ability to supplement straightforward calls and texts with group messaging functionality. The app itself is straightforward to use, with a clear interface and few extraneous options, and it can also handle the distribution of photographs and emoji.
It is worth noting that yuilop has been designed to be portable – it can’t be installed on desktop computers, whereas rivals like Viber are PC and Mac compatible. It is, however, far more flexible than Facebook Messenger, which is essentially a BBM competitor. Similarly, the widely-admired WhatsApp is entirely message-based, whereas yuilop can handle calls as well. As for the undisputed market leader, Skype, although calls are free to other Skype users, there are charges for text messages, landline/mobile calls and obtaining a unique number. However, while yuilop offers all these services for free, it does lack Skype’s desktop/laptop functionality.
Founded in Barcelona three years ago, and described by its founders as a “mobile phone in the cloud”, yuilop already has five million users across over 200 countries, with ambitious plans for further expansion in future. It can be downloaded for free at your phone or mobile device’s app store.