Watch out Skype, competition just got a little stiffer. Swedish company Rebtel updated its app for iOS, which not only enables free international calling between iPhone users, but will reroute calls from 3G and Wi-Fi to land lines on the fly.
Rebtel 2.0, now available for download in the App Store, makes traditional VOIP calls between Rebtel users. This includes enabling calls to other countries for greatly reduced rates similar to Skype. More interesting though is Rebtel's new KeepTalking feature which lets iPhone owners begin a call on Wi-Fi or 3G cellular connection, then switch over to a local landline operated by Rebtel to improve call quality.
To activate KeepTalking, iPhone users just tap a button in the center of the screen. Rebtel also will alert you if it detects a fading data connection. This could come in particularly handy when caught in the sticks, where no Hotspots and only a spotty AT&T signal exists.
Besides better audio piped over terrestrial lines, another benefit Rebel touts is the potential money saved, especially when making calls across borders. Rebtel assigns both you and Rebtel users in your address book local numbers so the charges incurred are via local voice minutes only. If your mobile plan is packed with minutes you don't use and you constantly chat with friends in Europe, Rebtel could be a great option.
Other intriguing features are discounted SMS texts to people overseas plus tight integration with iPhone-based contacts lists. That means you won't need to sync contacts between apps before dailing. Though the Rebtel app is on multiple platforms (Android, iOS, BlackBerry, PC, and even some feature phones), Rebtel 2.0 is only currently available for the iPhone. Still, a company rep told us that plans to bring Rebtel's advanced features to Android are in the works.
In terms of competitiveness, Rebtel is hot on Skype's heels as the second biggest VOIP provider and boasts a roster of 13 million users.