As the process of least cost routing of call traffic in North America has become the norm, it’s only starting to make headway overseas. While mobile number portability, a strategic aspect of providing both quality of service and affordability to customers, became official in Ghana just only a few weeks ago, it – along with international least cost routing – is bound to instigate many challenges.
John Fitzpatrick, head of product engineering for least cost routing products at TEOCO (News - Alert), recently sounded off in an interview with Dan Baker on BillingWorld.com, about the many issues faced in international least cost routing. From imprecise routing and number portability issues to complicated rate sheets, Fitzpatrick says global least cost routing is certainly a challenge for vendors to master, but comes with unmatched benefits.
According to Fitzpatrick, least cost routing in overseas destinations differs immensely from domestic U.S. routing. The Local Exchange Routing Guide provides the numbering plan administration in North America, while centralized numbering control doesn’t exist internationally. Therefore, overseas carriers, which typically route their traffic based on destination brands, such as UK London, UK Mobile or UK Vodafone (News - Alert), often interpret these names differently.
Inaccuracy among destination names has prompted international least cost routing providers to route traffic by vendor digits, which eliminates the potential for high costs and billing disputes due to misinterpreted rate sheets.
Fitzpatrick compares the complicated process of international routing to a “trading desk environment,” in which rates come in but have to be pushed out into the network within an hour. Before data is received by the routing server, rate sheets need to be parsed across hundreds of different templates, and data goes through a validation process.
As for international number portability, the process isn’t as “tidy,” according to Fitzpatrick, who added global number portability lacks proper methods for querying portability data. As opposed to using the Local Routing Number, or LRN, and the well-defined U.S. method for porting numbers, TEOCO instead uses its own INRoute solution to incorporate least cost routing capabilities with intelligent routing capabilities to ensure calls are terminated to the carriers who own the subscriber number. This eliminates the “middle man,” which would usually decrease call quality and create an uptick in termination costs.
Fitzpatrick provides a more positive outlook to European operators moving to optimized routing. “The numbers are quite amazing. Out of the total volume of voice calls, we estimate that moving from blending to digit-based routing, the savings for operators in Europe are in the neighborhood of 5 percent to 9 percent. And the opportunities get even richer when you consider that we work with our clients to further optimize by redeploying or re-engineering their networks to further optimize. In one year, one of our operator clients saved over $15 million.”
With least cost routing experts like TEOCO, and TransNexus (News - Alert), North America is certainly in good hands when it comes to call routing and number portability. TransNexus is focused on providing solutions to next-generation networks for least-cost routing, number portability, traffic reports, profit analysis and wholesale billing. The company says its NexOSS Least Cost Routing features are easy to use and can do copy and paste rate provisioning from carrier rate plans.
Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet web editor. She covers a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Chris DiMarco