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Still mulling Aswath's comment on VoIP User (obtain your free UK local-rate telephone number (DID) which can be forwarded to any landline in a number of countries in the World, your SIP software or hardware phone) over.

How is it that the service is so inexpensive? Indeed, VoIPuser gives away virtual numbers in UK and will terminate the calls to not just any SIP or IAX2 destination, but also landlines in selective countries for, get this, free! For me this all the more remarkable, till I realized that they are taking the kickback charges they receive for terminating the call, to pay for the forwarding of the call.

Given the service offered by VoIPuser (and soon to be joined by LibréTel), one clearly observes that VoIP technology is not needed in the access to offer virtual number service. More importantly, another "revolutionary service" afforded by VoIP turns out to be an arbitrage play. What happens to the viability of the business plan of this service if the "bill and keep" regime advocated by many VoIP players is indeed instituted? Aswath Weblog

Comments (3)


[quote]...one clearly observes that VoIP technology is not needed in the access to offer virtual number service.[/quote]

The Aswath blog is not correct in this regard VoIP technology is critical to this model.

Virtual numbers (both geographic and non-geographic) are issued, in the UK, by Ofcom to a set pricing structure. Providers are not allowed to deviate from those prices.

VoIP technology enables the Worldwide routing of voice data packets at no cost to the provider (effectively using the caller and callee's own internet connection).

The providers net expense is therefore the provision of an inbound gateway (PSTN local rate number to internet termination) and the cost of peering arrangements with gateway providers in other countries across the globe.

The margins available on the non-geographic numbers are low. Providing service from PSTN to PSTN with no VoIP "section" in the middle of the call makes for an extremely expensive routing cost that would in all liklihood break the model.

A virtual number service, with Worldwide PSTN/mobile telephone termination is 100% reliant on VoIP technology.

Speaking from VoIP Users point of view, we couldn't offer the service we offer without it.


A clarification on this point was subsequently discussed in http://www.voipuser.org/forum_topic_187.html .

My point is that the benefits of VoIP technology can be provided to PSTN users as well. So VoIP technology is not needed in the ACCESS and that PSTN incumbents can easily supplant VoIP service providers.


Indeed it was - thanks Aswath - my comment above was posted before you clarified.

I wholeheartedly agree. PSTN users can benefit from having a VoIP "half" in their call route, most notably on long distance.

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