French startup Be-Bound says it has found a way to allow smartphone owners to continue using their internet and connected apps where there is no 3G or 4G/LTE coverage. The company states that it offers “the first solution that allows users to stay connected anywhere there is a working phone signal. We use the SMS network as an alternative transport layer to bring users a true app experience when there is no internet network and reach even the most remote regions.” Be-Bound has developed a patented compression algorithm to reduce the data traffic generated by its apps. “Even when our e-mail app is working with 3G/4G, users consume up to 5 times less data than when using standard e-mail,” the company’s website states, adding that the start-up is opening its technology to mobile app and IoT developers who want to reach wider populations.
Solutions to allow internet access to non-3G/4G users and even to feature-phone users are nothing particularly new. Be-Bound’s technology, however, promises a rich experience akin to true smartphone high-speed data. While other solutions have been marketed mainly to customers in developing markets who do not yet have smartphones and data plans but still wish to connect to Facebook and surf the web—with the hope of encouraging them to eventually adopt data use—Be-Bound’s system seems targeted to smartphone and data users who experience spotty access to high-speed signals, a problem that occurs in many areas, developed and developing alike. Whether or not its technology delivers these impressive results, of course, remains to be seen, but the promised increase in data efficiency, if fulfilled, could resound beyond the current specific application.