ROAMING THROUGH THE SHARED ECONOMY

World Phone is an award-winning, revolutionary communications App for international travellers that harnesses the “sharing economy” to provide access to high-quality, low-cost telecommunications around the world. Winner, in August 2015, of an Australian’s iAwards in the consumer category dedicated to Applications, Tools and Platforms, World Phone App’s is the culmination of four years of pertinacious work of its founder Paul Ostergaard.

The CEO of Norwood Systems, the company behind World Phone App, has a lot to celebrate with its recent successful IPO and his application’s 8400% growth since its launch just over a month ago. Paul tells us more about his application’s meteoric rise in the digital and telecommunications world.

Norwood Systems launched its app World Phone just over a month ago and is already experiencing explosive growth disrupting the communications. How is Norwood Systems applying the sharing economy principle to the telecoms industry?
What Norwood Systems has done is apply the sharing economy principle from companies such as Uber and Airbnb to the telecoms industry. There are currently two ways to make a phone call when travelling; VoIP and cellular roaming, with the former being unreliable, and the latter being sometimes costly for consumers and businesses alike. The idea behind World Phone is to improve the quality of VoIP by using local network partners. The application allows customers to have secure, reliable, high-quality international calls at a fraction of the price by partnering with local operators. In addition to providing savings greater than 80%, we offer a frictionless and superior customer experience. Other alternatives require multiple SIM cards or different phones. Our World Phone app is effectively the best way for consumers to communicate anywhere in the world as if they were at home.

Could you share your insights and guidance on building a successful application?
We emulated Apple’s attention to detail and enhanced it to design a beautiful application our customers will have empathy with, an emotional attachment. For instance, World Phone looks very much like the dial screen on an iPhone avoiding the steep learning curve of using a new app. To facilitate usability, all contacts are synced together so there is no need to switch between the phone and the application.

In just weeks, the app is boasting 100,000 users spread over 200 cities globally, how did you achieve it?
First of all, I must give credit to my team for achieving such results but also to all our customers for supporting our growth. World Phone is the number one downloaded travel app in seven countries on the iTunes® App store. It is also one of the top most popular travel apps in more than half of all App Stores worldwide.

We have been using growth hacking because it is a tight marketing process which enables us to see very quickly what works and what doesn’t. We go through a weekly process repeating the same procedures which are:

– Brainstorming

– Idea Refinement

– Design

– Implementation

– Result Analysis

Our call to action as well as value propositions are adapted to enable us to reach a wide audience – currently spread over 5,000 cities.

What are the benefits and challenges of partnering with leading brands?
In addition to growth hacking, we are exploring affiliate marketing channels. We are in talks with airlines as well as credit card companies to customise World Phone to their needs. Our long-term strategy is to partner with large telecoms operators to expand our reach globally and create revenue for both parties involved.

In today’s mobile first world, how do you gain customer insights?
We have invested in deep analytic packages, which are embedded in our application. And most importantly, we analyse our customers’ data and use it in growth hacking on a weekly basis. We are very consumer-centric and always try to find ways to improve the usability of our product as well as our customers’ experience.