Voxbone’s iNum service this week announced that Verizon, British Telecom and Belgacom are now supporting their +883, the country code for “planet earth.”
From the companies press release:
“Gaining recognition of iNum from traditional, non-VoIP carriers is critical to iNum’s long-term success and, more broadly, is a major industry milestone, signaling a pivotal change in the thinking of the world’s national carriers,” said Rod Ullens, CEO of Voxbone. “With short- or long-term IP conversion plans of their own, most incumbent operators are no longer fighting but rather embracing Internet-based communication services.”
You can read the entire press release here.
I would hope that if Verizon gets in the game that other North American carriers will eventually do likewise.
We should be 100% clear about what this is exactly. iNum is a carrier peering mechanism. It’s a means for the carriers to connect via IP where in the past they have connected by TDM means. In essence iNum takes the PSTN out of play when calls get passed between member carriers. It also stays with a numeric address scheme allowing that traditional desk phones can make iNum calls with the complexities of dialing by SIP URI.
One of the big opportunities that iNum presents is the chance to spread the adoption of HDVoice. If the carrier/service provider at each each is IP-based then a pure IP call path is ensured. iNum already supports G.722 and has expressed some enthusiasm for Skype’s SILK.
If you are a Gizmo5 user, you now have an iNum.
To know what’s your iNum number look for your Gizmo5 SIP number, which looks like 1-747-XXX-XXXX and replace the [1-747] with [883 510 07].
Example: If your Gizmo5 SIP number is 1-747 123 4567 then your iNum is +883 510 071 234 567.
Since I’ve had a SIP Phone/Gizmo5 number for an eternity I decided to try a little experimentation involving iNum calls. For a long time I’ve had my Gizmo5 number permanently call forwarded to an OnSIP SIP URI.
Initially I tweeted that I had an iNum and would anyone following my twitter stream be able to try calling me via that route. Three people responded, but only the last could place the call successfully.
The first to try was Aswath Rao who is actually on Verizon service. He received a fast busy signal for his effort. When the second person tried and failed I though I’d best take matters into my own hands.
I called that 713 number from my cell phone and was greeted by a prompt to enter the iNum I wished to reach, which I did. The call was completed and rang my IP650, but I could not answer it. Call signaling was making it correctly, but the media was not.
I decided to try and simplify the call path so I logged into the Gizmo5 control panel and removed the call forwarding to the OnSIP URI. I then set my Eyebeam soft phone to register with Gizmo5 and tried the text call from my cell phone once again.
This time the call went through correctly and I was…as is so often the case…talking to myself.
T-Mobile cell phone > Local iNum access > iNum > Gizmo5 > Eyebeam
Just about the time that I hung up that call @maximCH called me from his Asterisk server in Switzerland. He told me that his Asterisk dial plan was dialing iNum via Gizmo5, so it was perfectly logical that the call completed. It was essentially in-network for Gizmo5, only referencing iNum numbers.
So it seems that by virtue of the fact I have a Gizmo5 number I also have an iNum number. What does that get me? Very little really. For the moment iNum is actually less useful then calling by SIP URI. That is, I know more people who are accessible via SIP URI.
However, as iNum uptake grows it may enable greater use of wideband calling. When you call my iNum you are essentially assured of an all IP call path, and so a wideband call. That assumes that your end is IP-based. If you’re calling from a VZ POTS line you won’t be getting HD audio, even if VZ routes the call.
iNum may also flatten the world from a cost perspective. For example, Skype charges 2.1 cents/minute for termination to iNum numbers. Considering that the number could ring anywhere on the globe that’s got to be on average below the cost of traditional calls. I doubt that many people will be as fortunate as @maximCH and enjoy free iNum calling from mobile carriers. Such confusion probably won’t survive if iNum usage grows in a meaningful way.