10 Years of Rakuten Viber

 1 trillion call minutes in a decade of Viber’s existence. But love was the trigger.

Viber started as a lovestory

Over 10 years ago, connecting with friends abroad was a true challenge: expensive bills for overseas calls and unstable connectivity on video calls. The service was not yet reliable due to slow speeds of mobile networks and the technical limitations of early smartphones. It was even harder and more expansive, when someone was in a long-distance relationship, like one of the founders of Viber. That’s how the idea was born!

Viber disrupted the telecommunication scene

With the Viber app, users could make VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls to other smartphones — a notable technical feat for 2010 that solved a common problem faced by globe-trotting smartphone users (lovebirds or otherwise). Thus, the Viber app enabled anyone to make long-distance phone calls – anywhere and anytime for free. Just a smartphone was needed.

Clever UX design and features like phone number registration made finding contacts a breeze, and suddenly, the concept of making international calls from your mobile device had changed forever.
“With its launch, Viber disrupted the telecommunication scene as it leveraged the most advanced VoIP technologies to deliver a service that was both free but also high quality, even at lower speeds which other apps struggled with,” says Viber CEO Djamel Agaoua.

The timeline of Viber
The timeline of Viber

Pioneering Communication

Viber added a messaging function shortly after its launch, hence it quickly became a core part of the app’s DNA.
“The rest, as they say, is history,” Agaoua jokes. For the early adopters of 2010 — who had until then been stuck using a mixture of regular phone service, SMS, poorly optimized social media websites and email to communicate with one another — the convenience of Viber was impossible to ignore.
Today, users can not only video chat, make voice calls and exchange messages, but also make payments and participate in multi-million-member Communities that provide useful and entertaining content.

Viber becomes part of Rakuten’s ecosystem

It lies in the nature of strong and innovative companies to build synergies and leverage each other’s talent and knowledge. In 2014, Viber joined the Rakuten Group.
“Being part of the Rakuten family opened vast opportunities to access shared knowledge in fields very much tied to messaging and communication, such as e-commerce, fintech and telecoms,” Agaoua explains. ”We believe we have only scratched the surface when it comes to synergies inside the group, and we love the idea that 10 years after Viber’s disruption of VoIP, Rakuten is massively disrupting the telecom industry with its new mobile service launched in Japan that will soon support international service operators as well.”

Rakuten Viber Stickers
Rakuten Viber Stickers

Viber’s Vision for the Future

CEO Agaoua explains: “Our most important vision is to keep communication free and accessible through interoperability, which will allow people to exchange instant messages across platforms and competing messaging apps, just as calls connect between different telco companies. This would ensure freedom of choice is never compromised and would be a great incentive for companies to increase privacy.”

Read original article on Rakuten.Today

More companies within the Rakuten Group celebrated their 10-year anniversary last year. Read more about Rakuten France.