Vodafone, in partnership with Secusmart, are planning to release a new mobile application called “Secure Call” some time later this year. The purpose of this mobile application is to encrypted voice calls. The first release of Secure Call will be only for Vodafone users in Germany. At this point in time there is no information released about plans to expand Secure Call to other geographic markets after Germany. However, we can anticipate that if Secure Call is successful in Germany, and is widely adopted, that Vodafone would perhaps extend the same encrypted voice calling service to other markets.
The company that Vodafone is working with to develop this secure calling mobile application is Secusmart. They founded in 2007 and since then have developed secure applications that are used by governmental agencies, defense ministries and other companies. There is limited information right now about the encryption technologies that Secure Call will leverage or how the solution will work. We can speculate the at a minimum Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) will be included along with additional cryptography algorithms for more secure authentication.
It has been announced that Secure Call will first be made available for Android and soon after iOS and Windows Phone. Secure Call is not the first to the market with a mobile application that provides encrypted voice calls. Since Vodafone and Secusmart are in partnership developing this secure mobile application we can predict that to differentiate their service there will need to be some distinctive quality, perhaps network level secure over the Vodafone network, that other secure mobile applications do not and cannot provide.
For instance, there are several other mobile applications already available in the marketplaces to send and receive encrypted voice calls. All of these mobile applications operate on the data channel. If Vodafone can introduce a new secure calling service that operates on the voice channel this could be a differentiator. Likewise, other secure mobile applications available today require both the sender and receiver to both have the secure mobile application installed on their mobile device. If Vodafone can make the user experience one that does not require both sender and receiver to have the secure mobile application that would set their Secure Call mobile application apart.
Hopefully Vodafone will expand the secure service beyond just voice calls to include SMS and IM. In order to compete with other secure mobile applications available currently in the marketplace they’ll have to if they want adoption and acceptance. Especially taking in to account the apparent communication shift away from voice to SMS and IM.
The secure encryption calling service will reportedly cost €10 per Vodafone user a month or €120 annually. On the surface this seems like a high-priced service. Still for many businesses and individuals that are concerned and sensitive to calls being intercepted or eavesdropped then this cost may be well worth it. If the service performs well we can expect Vodafone corporate customers to automatically enable this secure calling service on all corporate liable mobile devices. With all of the recent security leaks and breaches this is a much need service.