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Home | Carrier Services | Voxbone, Phone Numbers: Too Often Missing in Telcos’ Offerings
  Rod Ullens, CEO, Voxbone
  Rod Ullens, CEO, Voxbone

Phone Numbers: Too Often Missing in Telcos’ Offerings

Rod Ullens, CEO and co-founder of Voxbone, talks to InterComms about the provision of worldwide telephone numbers

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Rod Ullens is CEO and co-founder of Voxbone, which provides worldwide telephone numbers, including global iNum® numbers, to communications services providers, call centres and multinational businesses.

Ullens leads the company’s strategic direction and implementation. A primary responsibility is setting up partnerships with telecommunications carriers around the world.

Before founding Voxbone, he provided advice, training and seminars to European carriers, such as Belgacom mobile, KPN, France Telecom and Orange, as well as several European governments.

He holds a B.S. in telecommunication engineering from the University of Louvain in Belgium.

Q: Voxbone is currently the only company exclusively focused on origination services, why was this choice made?
A: There are plenty of termination carriers out there. Very few carriers are able to offer local phone numbers from abroad. Companies started approaching us a few years back with requests for local phone numbers from Belgium. Then from US and other big countries. The demand quickly became global. Voxbone acts like a one stop shop with numbers from many countries. We are for example the only carrier in the world licensed in all 27 EU countries.

Q: What makes it so difficult to get phone numbers from abroad?
A: There are several kinds of barriers. The first one is the regulatory environment surrounding the activity. The second one is the complexity of the interconnections with the incumbents needed to benefit from a national and international routing of the numbers. The third one is the time and resources it takes to sign specific contracts with many carriers from many countries and in many languages. It takes between 12 and 24 months to add a new country to our coverage. Once it is in there, customers can benefit from it within minutes.

Q: Voxbone currently owns the world’s largest backbone dedicated to voice originated services, how has the down turn effected you?
A: Actually the down turn has been beneficial to us. Companies decided to encourage people to reduce costs by all means including travelling less. And people did. They replaced tons of meetings abroad with conference calls and started looking for cheaper telecommunication services. Our revenue grew by 60% over 2009 and our traffic more than doubled over the same period.

Q: What benefits can Carriers and Service Providers find working with you in the current market?
A: Voxbone is a modern company. Next to the customer service, it is the entire architecture and way of thinking that has been thought up for today’s customer needs. Good quality and a fair price are no longer sufficient to succeed. Companies also compete on time to market. The quicker you are able to serve a customer, the greater the chance you get the deal.

Companies who choose Voxbone know they will be able to beat their competition. Our customers get their service in real-time because they are given the tools to do so. We have the most advanced set of tools one could think off. Numbers are delivered in real time; routing, codecs, fax, caller-ID, DTMF and all other features are configurable in real time through Voxbone’s web portal.

Q: Voxbone launched the iNum initiative. How can carriers benefit from it?
A: iNum® numbers are global phone numbers from the new +883 country code, granted to Voxbone by the ITU.

The essence of the iNum initiative is to create a global innovation platform using industry-standard voice and messaging methods. These phone numbers are multimedia capable and already support HD voice, SMS, messaging, presence, and soon video. Many service providers have started providing added-value services and applications using iNum. Routing +883 will generate additional revenue for carriers.

Q: As the leading originating carrier, what is your growth area this year? Where do you view the future for Voxbone?
A: The future will stand in mobile and in number portability. By mobile we mean the availability of mobile numbers and the support of typical mobile features such as SMS, Video, presence etc. Carriers and service providers will need to be able to port the consumers’ existing phone numbers in order to have them on board. We’re working hard on both aspects and we believe 2010 will be another terrific year.

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