WebRTC specialist teaches an old dog some new tricks.

Cloud communications and WebRTC specialist Genband revealed this week that its Kandy platform is being used by Deutsche Telekom to power its new Immmr OTT comms service.

Using Kandy, Immmr separates the phone number from the SIM card and hosts it in the cloud. This allows it to direct voice and video calls, and messages to multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets and PCs. Users can also switch between voice and video chats on the fly, and can even choose a second phone number, which is useful if they want to have a separate line for work, for example.

What’s more, Kandy "is carrier-grade, secure, and reliable," Sanjay Bhatia, vice president of solutions marketing and strategy at Genband, told Total Telecom on Tuesday. "These key aspects are why it is better than OTT services like WhatsApp."

Like WhatsApp, Immmr is free to use, which begs the question: why would a telco, which relies on subscription revenue to survive, give away something that cannibalises its voice and messaging services?

"Deutsche Telekom is using it to keep customers sticky by offering access to a rich suite of services," Bhatia said, adding that the option of taking a second phone number at no extra cost is also very attractive.

"Carriers need something new to take to market," he continued, and "giving something away for free is better than letting customers churn."