Voxbone Announces Inum, Internet’s First Global ‘Country Code’

Voxbone announces iNum — one global telephone number that enables anyone to establish a local presence anywhere in the world. Voxbone is making use of the +883 country code, newly created by the ITU (International Telecommunication Union), to create a global "country code" and associated banks of direct-inward-dial (DID) numbers.

"iNum is a new kind of phone number for a new kind of world- a world with a new geography that's about local presence and global relationships, not about distance or national borders", said Rodrigue Ullens, CEO and co-founder of Voxbone. "We believe the new geography is defined by the markets, customers and vendors that businesses need to connect with most. We need 'local' communication with these people – whether calls originate on public-switched or VoIP networks, whether they are truly or 'virtually' local", Ullens noted.

Ullens said the ITU approved Voxbone's testing of iNum in June 2007. "We received our first iNum allocation and began testing '+883' numbers in remote networks", he said. "This month we begin a private beta with several service providers, including, Jajah, Gizmo5, Ribbit, Rebtel, Mobivox, VoipBuster, Voxeo and Voipuser."

Among wholesale voice carriers, Arbinet, Belgacom ICS, Level3 and Stealth's Voice Peering Fabric are already routing +883 calls today. Since recognizing the new country code requires an update to the switch routing tables of all wholesale, international carriers and retail providers, +883 calls must traverse participating carriers' networks in order to connect. A list of all such carriers and their rates for iNum connection appears on the site.

To create a number with "local" PSTN access around the world, Voxbone worked with the ITU to establish the 883 country code, in the same way that 44 is the country code that refers internationally to the United Kingdom and 1 to the United States.

Voxbone provides iNum numbers for free to carriers and service providers, Ullens said. The number wholesaler will receive calls to these numbers and deliver them over IP to the appropriate service provider. In this way, it enables interconnection from PSTN callers as well as calls between different VoIP islands.

Some iNum participating carriers will resell iNum numbers to their customers so they can receive calls; other participants will merely route (terminate) calls to the new numbers. Most participating carriers will even deliver calls to iNum numbers free of charge to their users, effectively providing free connectivity between their network and remote networks.

"Customers and prospects who see an advertised iNum telephone number that costs little or nothing to dial will be just as inclined to call an international business as they would any business physically located nearby or in-country", said Ullens. "We see iNum encouraging more people to call globally, enabling business subscribers to have wider interactions with callers from new markets", he added. "For carriers, iNum will increase call minutes and generate additional revenue through innovative global services."

Ullens described iNum as a natural extension of Voxbone's role as an online DID (direct-inward-dial) warehouse. On Voxbone's website, service providers can obtain- on demand and fully provisioned- local telephone numbers that ring wherever subscribers want them to ring. The company provides local numbers for 5,000 cities in more than 45 countries. Customers include more than 1,200 carriers and service providers worldwide.

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