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Home | Carrier Services | Voxbone: Simplifying Access to Telecom Resources
  Rod Ullens, CEO, Voxbone
  Rod Ullens, CEO, Voxbone

Voxbone: Simplifying Access to Telecom Resources

Rod Ullens, CEO and co-founder of Voxbone, talks to InterComms about numbering challenges, opportunities and solutions

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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 Master in telecommunication engineering from the University of Louvain in Belgium.

Q: In the last issue we reviewed the Voxbone backbone and your origination services, have there been any changes to update us on?
A: Most of our resources have been fully occupied for doubling the capacity of our backbone, and for deploying more infrastructure in existing countries.

We recently announced the extension of local number availability to a 50th country: South Africa.

We also recently supported the launch of a new ‘virtual phone number’ service by a major European mobile operator; The service is planned for launch in multiple countries this fall.

Our newest addition to the list of features is the fact that our local phone numbers now support text messaging (SMS) in additional to voice and fax. Initially, this feature is supported for UK, US, and Canada numbers. We plan to expand this feature into more countries.

Q: The issue of number portability and correct knowledge of number origination seems to be a key issue at the moment. How are Voxbone aiding in this?
A: Indeed, today there are several concerns and issues with number portability in general: a lot of countries still do not support NP, sometimes only mobile numbers can be ported, and in many countries that support NP the process is complex, expensive or slow Instead of seeing NP as a threat to business, the whole telecom industry should realize that number portability is, on the contrary, a huge opportunity for telcos.

Portability is one of the principal reasons why phone numbers are so valuable, and the whole phone number system is one of the main reasons telcos have such a strong link with their customers.

Instead of limiting the potential of number portability, the telecom industry should instead come together to do much more with portability. Instead of only porting the phone number, we could also port customer data (e.g. address book, call logs, etc). The industry should come together to create additional standards for porting more than just the phone numbers. Data portability has enormous value for customers.

There should be centralized number portability databases in every country. These databases could contain more information about the phone numbers themselves, such as the applications supported by the endpoint.

Voxbone’s mission is to simplify the access to complex telecom resources. Providing easier access to phone numbers is one of these resources. Simplifying and automating NP procedures is another area that needs improvement and hence where Voxbone is investing resources.

Q: The GSM Association with Neustar are looking at a centralised database to cut through the red tape and allow freedom of information. How do you see this benefiting the service providers?
A: The most direct use of this service is to eliminate some of the third parties that are involved in call setup and call routing. It allows the originating carrier to know more information about the phone numbers themselves before routing the call (example: which company is really the carrier of record for this number?).

Q: How are Voxbone linking with other global organisations to provide simplified services?
A: Voxbone provides one of the building blocks to support telco operations ( the phone numbers). Other global organizations provide different building blocks. For example, some companies specialize in offering an easy access to emergency services. Other companies, such as HP or IBM, provide the infrastructure to support telecom operations. This is sometimes referred to as Communication As A Service (CAAS). See

Q: Do you see any critically needed new standards or regulation to improve the market place, or is simplification needed?
A: Simplification is needed in the way telcos are billing each other. Too much money, resources and time are spent managing this complex per-minute billing system. Today’s Internet-centric world is based on flat billing schemes. Inter-carrier relations should reflect this.

New standards and regulations should be developed to enhance the potential of number portability. This would revolutionize the opportunities offered to the telco industry.

Q: Where do you see Voxbone looking to develop new services and markets before we talk again?
A: Video…

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