Once upon a time, there was a real national push to allow people in rural communities to have access to telephone lines. In order to subsidize the calls to rural areas, the carriers in these regions charged call termination fees. Back in the days when we all used to pay per-minute fees for long-distance calls, this made a lot of sense. But nowadays, so many Americans get free long distance – from our cable providers or our mobile phones, for example – that the policy seems meaningless. Unless, of course, you are one of the traffic pumpers who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars off this little loophole. Then you might be pretty happy about it.
Jim Dalton (News - Alert), founder of least cost routing and VoIP fraud specialist TransNexus, explains the process of traffic pumping in a recent blog post. He explains how a traffic pumper can take an Internet feed, like an international radio station, and pump it through the phone lines. An interested party (say, an immigrant cab driver or dishwasher) could listen to music from his or her home country through a mobile phone for free all day. This would result in calls that last for hours at a time. The listener pays nothing, as most plans these days have free long distance. But the traffic pumper makes a fortune.
You see, this eight-hour long call is sent to a rural telephone number, and the Competitive Local Exhange Carrier is collecting a fee (say, 10 cents a minute) from the long distance carrier. The traffic pumper splits this fee with the carrier and makes a killing. Dalton estimates that one could rake in close to $300,000 per month with this arrangement off of just a thousand dedicated listeners. Not too shabby for what amounts to zero work.
Where do I sign up?
Edited by Jamie Epstein