SMS startup Nexmo is finally launching its voice service at Mobile World Congress. The new set of application programming interfaces basically allows any app developer to embed calling features into his apps and set up voice services in the cloud.
While Nexmo had offered text-to-speech APIs before, today’s launch gives it a full suite of telephony services. For instance, a developer could embed a “call representative” button on its web page or let sellers contact buyers within a collaborative consumption app. All it takes, said CEO Tony Jamous, is a few lines of code and a credit card.
Rates will vary depending on the country, but calls received in the U.S. will cost half a cent per session, while calls made through the cloud service will cost 1.3 cents. Twilio will also provision phone numbers to developers that want to connect to the traditional phone network. Each number will range from $1 to $10 per month depending on the country.
With voice in its arsenal Nexmo now is able to match its much larger rival Twilio service for service. Nexmo is already built a sizable SMS business, handling more than 250 million text messages a month. That success helped it raise $18 million in Series C funding last month. Meanwhile Twilio took the opposite approach to its communications platform, starting with voice and moving to SMS and MMS, but it’s been growing its messaging presence considerably.
While Twilio already delivers messages to almost every country on the globe, on Tuesday it announced an expansion of its local messaging operations (sending and receiving SMS from local phone number) to Asia, starting in Hong Kong and Australia, as well as three more countries in Europe: Austria, Lithuania and Estonia.
Twilio this week also announced a partnership with IBM that could give it hand up in the enterprise. Twilio’s communication APIs will now be available in IBM’s new BlueMix cloud platform.