This week I had a chat with Tim Behrsin, who heads up the iNum division at Voxbone. iNum (which stands for ‘international number’) launched in 2008 and has been busy building interconnect agreements and signing service providers over the last year.
The concept behind iNum is a single global phone number that isn’t tied to a specific geographical location. It uses the global ‘country code’ 883 to give users a number that will reach them wherever they are, regardless of geographical location. iNum numbers can also provide PSTN connectivity to VoIP services that hitherto have been isolated from the PSTN world.
An example of iNum in action is the recently launched Veep Mobile which uses iNum numbers as part of its VoIP over 3G data service.
In 2010 iNum will rollout support for SMS, in addition to voice, enhancing the mobile compatibility of the service. The proposition will also focus on identity, with functionality allowing service providers and users to determine where and how calls and messages should be delivered.
iNum is also looking at opportunities to provide connectivity in regions that are poorly served by existing technology. At the Burning Man event in the Nevada desert, attendees were assigned an iNum so they could be contacted from networks such as Skype and Google Talk, in the absence of cellular coverage.
Top priority for iNum at the moment is extending interconnect agreements with fixed and mobile telcos to allow users to call iNum numbers at standard rates so users can promote them as the best way to be contacted. Within the iNum world, iNum to iNum calls are free.
The concept of a single global number for people who travel, rather than having multiple local numbers, certainly has appeal and with the right pricing stands to catch on. Not having to change service providers when moving between countries could make life much easier for many people. How about Truphone Local Anywhere with an iNum!