Sci & Tech

Messaging App iGap to Launch Voice Calls

RooyeKhate Media is set to launch voice call services through its locally developed application, while the same service by Telegram was blocked soon after launch in Iran
RooyeKhat is negotiating with PayPal to launch payment services through iGap.
RooyeKhat is negotiating with PayPal to launch payment services through iGap.
The company is negotiating with PayPal to launch payment services through the messaging application for foreign users of iGap

RooyeKhat Media, which has developed the country’s first open source messaging application iGap, is set to launch its voice calls service.

Open-source software is computer software or a mobile application with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.

In a talk with Financial Tribune, Mohammad Rasoul Kazemi, CEO of the privately-owned and financed company, said the iGap voice call service will be launched in two weeks.

The application has been downloaded 60,000 times by Iranian users and some 22,000 are using it on a regular basis, he said. Furthermore, iGap is popular abroad especially in Arab countries and North America, he said, citing security of the service as the main reason.

According to Kazemi, the application currently has 6,000 users outside Iran and the number is growing. “The servers used by foreign users are in France.”

RooyeKhat is negotiating with PayPal to launch payment services through iGap which he sees as “a possible source of income” for the company. Telegram, the most popular messaging app in Iran with 45 million users has launched the same service in countries where Visa Card can be used.

RooyeKhat is following the example of Telegram in many ways with iGap. The application’s appearance has striking similarities with Telegram, although the CEO says the similarities do not go beyond appearances.

“When iGap was developed it was mainly aimed at Iranian users. Since the market has welcomed Telegram’s user interface, RooyeKha developers modeled the messenger after Telegram.”

However, “The similarities do not go beyond the interface and the core program has been developed locally and from scratch by Iranian developers.”

“In the initial phase of the development, RooyeKhat tried to employ Indian programmers but they were not able to cater to the needs of the company.”

The Iranian firm offers iOS and Android versions of iGap. The android version is available on the local Android market Café Bazaar and Google Play. The iOS version can be downloaded from App Store. Both versions and iGap’s Desktop version for Microsoft Windows can be directly downloaded from the service’s official website.

Both applications — Telegram and iGap — offer encrypted communications via which users can send messages, photos, videos and files of any type. The apps can also be used for group chats for up to 5,000 people.

Furthermore, for broadcasting to unlimited audiences, users can create “channels” via Telegram and iGap.

  Open Source Development

RooyeKhat is also one of the first Iranian technology-based firms to conduct an open source app development event. The event started on April 22 and will end on June 22.

At the event, software developers work on expanding and creating an upgraded version of iGap. Furthermore, participants can use the platform to establish a brand new application. The company is worth 60 billion rials ($1.6 million), Kazemi says, although it has yet not been able to make any money out of iGap.

The firm has held talks with several national organizations including the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies for promoting iGap, and local mobile operators,  RighTel and MCI.

“The ministry has shown no interest in the project since it has set up its own company developing a messaging application.”

RighTel has shown interest but wants to fully take over RooyeKhat Media. But Kazemi says “The company is not for sale.”

The voice calls will be encrypted like other private messaging communications via iGap. The audio calls use a direct peer-to-peer connection. This will significantly improve the quality of calls. The system allows iGap to connect users call directly to the person they are talking to, rather than routing the call through a server.

“We can cater to the needs of more the 20 million users,” Kazemi claimed.

“The 20 million user target is the minimum cited by the Telecoms Ministry as one of the conditions for providing financial support to indigenous messaging apps. However, even after reaching the capacity, the ministry rejected requests for incentives to RooyeKhat,” he maintained.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints