A few days ago I wrote a blog article asking readers all around the world to please try making a few test telephone calls. I also sent out an email blast to our firm’s email mailing list, asking readers to please read the blog article and place a few test calls. The goal was to test out some special telephone numbers in the 883 country code (called iNum numbers). I was intrigued by the results.
A dozen or so people who received the email wrote to me to break the news to me that my email account must have been hijacked. They assumed the email message must be some kind of scam. I wrote back to them one by one to let them know that my email account had not been hijacked and to reinforce my request that they please place a few test calls.
Lots and lots of people helped me by placing test calls. Many of the test calls went through and reached the test destination. Here are examples of some successful callers:
- VOIP callers from the US
- VOIP callers from Portugal
- Mobile callers from the US using T-Mobile
- Mobile callers from the US using Verizon
- Landline callers from the US using Verizon
- Mobile callers from Switzerland using Sunrise
- Landline callers from Switzerland using Swisscom
- Viber callers
Calls came in from many, many countries.
There were people who sent me emails reporting that they were unable to get through. A typical explanation of the call not going through was that the caller dialed the call as a purely domestic call instead of dialing it as an international call. For example a caller from within the US might dial the call starting with a “1” which would only work if the destination were a US telephone number (which an iNum number is not).
But in some cases, the explanation for the call not going through is that the telephone company that the caller was using to place the call is a telephone company that has not configured its network to permit callers to reach country code 883.
The patient reader who has kept reading all the way down to this point in this blog article might be forgiven for wondering, why does anyone care about iNum telephone numbers (which start with country code 883)? And the answer is, eventually iNum numbers will become much more prevalent. If you want to be trendy, modern, and up-to-date, you will want to know about and use iNum telephone numbers.
We are all accustomed to “network effects”, meaning situations where a thing is more valuable or useful if lots of people already use whatever it is that we are talking about. LinkedIn would be boring if it were to have only a few users, but becomes more interesting if almost everybody uses it. Whatsapp is interesting only if some of your friends also use Whatsapp.
iNum telephone numbers (which start with country code 883) fall into this “network effect” category. iNum numbers are interesting only if lots of people have them, and if lots of people are able to call them.
Anybody can have an iNum telephone number. Well, anybody who has migrated to SIP telephone service. You can get an iNum telephone number for free.
And many people with SIP telephone service can call iNum telephone numbers. (And, as I found, many people dialing calls using legacy telephone service such as landlines and mobile phones can also call iNum telephone numbers.)
Who has SIP telephone service? Five years ago, almost nobody. Now in 2018, almost every smart corporation or law firm has migrated to SIP service. (I’d guess there are lots of corporations and law firms where the people who work there are not aware that the business uses SIP service.) As I reported in this blog article, I looked it up for a couple of dozen well-known law firms, and every one of them uses SIP telephone service.
Many residential customers have either gotten rid of their landline, or have migrated their landline to SIP telephone service.
I suspect that 2018 is the “tipping point” year in which most readers of this blog will be using SIP telephone service, and thus will be able to (a) obtain a free iNum telephone number and (b) place free telephone calls to iNum telephone numbers.
To the patient reader who has somehow continued reading all the way down to this point in this blog article, I will say “thank you”. And if you have the time and energy to make the test phone call or two, please feel free to read the previous blog article and please try calling the iNum number in that article.
If you have a SIP PBX (and by now, most trendy, modern and up-to-date corporations and law firms do, even if they don’t know it) then you can add iNum numbers free of charge. You might as well do so, since it won’t cost you anything to do it, and it might allow some people from other countries to call you for free.