A visit to Truphone towers

Having briefly met James Body, who is Truphone‘s rather grandly titled ‘Director of Networks’, at the Mobile Geeks of London beerfest a few weeks back, I figured it was time I paid him a visit at their plush new London HQ.

Truphone were, up until not that long ago, based on a working organic farm in deepest darkest Kent. They made cheese,  developed cutting edge VOIP applications for mobile phones, and all was good. But then life on the farm got a bit cramped, and the cows were getting narked at sharing space with people on laptops sipping coffee, so they headed to the big smoke and got a rather plush office by the river at Tower Bridge, which is where I met up with James.

The first thing that strikes you about their offices is the view. I mean, where else can you get a view like this? OK, so if you move the random bloke out the way of the shot it’s pretty, isn’t it? The second thing you notice is the office is covered in cow prints and fake grass. They say never forget where you came from, and Truphone obviously haven’t. There’s even a bail of hay in a perspex box in reception – to be honest I was half expecting to see a few cows and sheep wandering around as well!

Having settled in with a nice cup of tea, and being introduced to the team, Katie – one of their very nice customer service people and a whiz with a mobile – had a good fiddle with my E61, tuned it up a bit, and made it all lovely. They certainly know their way around their handsets – it puts me to shame.

Talking to James and his colleagues, they’ve got huge amounts of cool stuff going on – and they’re certainly a company to keep an eye on in the coming months and years. They’re not just ‘another’ faceless mobile company either – they’re damn nice people and passionate about what they do. OK so the couple of beers and a pizza may have swayed me a tiny bit, but it’s true – they’re a great bunch.

I’ve used Truphone a few times since my visit (now that it’s all lovingly tweaked on my rather flakey E61), and it’s reliable as anything. Always been a bit wary of the quality of VOIP providers, but they’re top notch.. plus until the end of the year you can call free to 40 countries around the world – including the UK (01/02 landline numbers).

12 Responses to A visit to Truphone towers

  1. anon August 14, 2007 at 10:19 am #

    Yes I know the building well and indeed it is one of the most expensive views in London – and primarily used by hedge fund companies.

    Is this a classic case of a startup with too much venture capital focusing on looking pretty (also sounds like their interior design budget was rather big too!!); whereas what they should focus on is telling us what it is they do…which if my memory serves me right is….erm…er…something to do with mobiles?

    Although having said that, it will cetainly add some excitement if we start to see some madness again just like in 1999; companies spending more on putting bales of hay into their reception than they spend on actually trying to make a return for their investors. So yeah, bring it on, lets have some crazy old days again in the mobile world ‘cus it’s all just getting a little bit dull round this neck of the woods…

  2. mobile vision August 14, 2007 at 11:18 am #

    I ain’t drinking the truphone cool-aid.

    Someone will make cash out of it, I’ll guarantee that, but I seriously doubt they’ll be around in 3 years to care about their 8 year lease on the property.

    you heard it here first

  3. Anon August 14, 2007 at 11:58 am #

    Yes but what about the rumours that at core they are offering a manual system and that the software isn’t as clever as they are implying? Did you watch a message being processed?

  4. Alex August 14, 2007 at 12:06 pm #

    @ Anon #3: Eh? A manual voip service? The mind boggles.. didn’t see anyone pulling cords and plugging them into sockets on an old style switchboard 😉

  5. Ben Smith August 14, 2007 at 12:07 pm #

    @anon: The market price of a bale of hay appears to be ~£2 (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320146472487) so may not be the best example of extravagance although the point may be valid re: the rent!

  6. Ben Smith August 14, 2007 at 1:11 pm #

    @Anon 3: I think you’re confusing this with Spinvox which is a different product and company.

  7. mobile vision August 14, 2007 at 1:18 pm #

    Anon, could you be confusing Truphone with Spinvox?

  8. Alex August 14, 2007 at 1:48 pm #

    Too many people here called anon. Name and shame yourselves damnit :p

  9. Anon August 14, 2007 at 2:03 pm #

    Sorry yes I mean Spinvox. Can you give a view on how their system works…the rumour still holds….can your superb service break the real story?

  10. mobile vision August 14, 2007 at 2:30 pm #

    Hai i iz mobile vision. i haz vision.

  11. Steve Curtis August 14, 2007 at 2:49 pm #

    I’ve used Truphone – it works well when it works – I think the only weakness is the lack of WiFi availability on the move – and with the upcoming Femtocell craziness I think the mobile operators will striking hard so I guess they’ve got to get moving quick time..

  12. TruLover August 15, 2007 at 2:02 pm #

    I am not sure what people are talking about. I have truphone since several months and it is true. I could not live without it. Currently on my summer holidays. I forwarded all my T-Mobile calls prior to leaving to truphone (call divert). I am now in France and constantly in WiFi at the house we rented. Therefore ZERO roaming cost for the first time. EU cutting roaming cost at the end of August. YES, it is still 55pence a minute (sorry how much)))). And voicemail means 55pence times 2 = Pound 1,10 to receive it and then 55pence to listen to it. WELL I AM on truphone I could care less about what the EU does…. I am in a FREE MOBILE WORLD and nobody will get me off the service. Truphone has become my main mobile provider with a SIM backup when am not in WiFi from T-Mobile. But I can tell you I am making 90 percent of my calls on truphone….. 😉

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