iNum SMS/voice support and pricing matrix for various Canadian and US carriers

I’m a big fan of iNum, as it appears to be the best effort so far to integrate SIP-based, location-agnostic voice calls and messaging with the existing telephone network. For something like this to really take off, an iNum needs to be accessible from most major carriers. There are already some pages posted by iNum showing the reach of voice and SMS support among carriers. Here I’ll expand on those with the results of my own testing, including additional info such as what connecting to iNum costs from various carriers, as well as how iNum support works while roaming.

The results, with analysis and methodology below:

Carrier (country) Plan SMS to iNum Voice call to iNum
Google Voice (US) n/a send failure US$0.03/minute
T-Mobile (US) $30/month web/text US$0.10/SMS recorded error
T-Mobile (US) roam on Rogers (CA) US$0.10/SMS recorded error
T-Mobile (US) roam on Mobilicity (CA) US$0.10/SMS recorded error
T-Mobile (US) roam on Wind (CA) US$0.10/SMS unanswerable ring
Wind Mobile (CA) Pay Your Way send failure recorded error
Koodo Mobile (CA) $40/month data C$0.00/SMS recorded error
Telus Mobility (CA) Prepaid Pay Per Use C$0.40/SMS immediate call end *
Rogers Wireless (CA) [unknown] C$?.??/SMS recorded error
Bell Home phone (CA) [unknown] n/a recorded error

Some notes on the above table:

  • SMS was tested with both a Speap iNum and a the iNum SMS test number. Voice calls were tested with a Callcentric iNum and a VoIP.ms iNum.
  • All tests were done between 2013-12-15 and 2013-12-31 in New York City or the Greater Toronto Area. Wind and T-Mobile tests were conducted on a Nokia N900, Rogers and Koodo tests were conducted on an iPhone, and Wind and Telus tests were conducted on a Galaxy Nexus (Wind was tested on two phones).
  • The list of error types is as follows:
    • send failure – the phone/device indicated the message was not sent, no fee was charged, and no message was received on on the iNum
    • recorded error – a recorded error message indicating “call cannot be completed as dialed” or similar was played back when attempting to place the call, the call was disconnected, no fee was charged, and the iNum did not ring
    • unanswerable ring – the caller’s and callee’s devices rang, but when the callee picked up, there was silence and the caller’s device kept ringing; no fee was charged
    • immediate call end – immediately after the call was initiated, the carrier disconnected the call and the phone showed “Call ended”
  • * All calls were tested using each of “+”, “00″, and “011″ before the country code and rest of the iNum. In the case of Telus, the “00″-dialed number received a recorded error message (rather than an immediate call end) and the call was charged at full long distance rates ($0.15 + $0.50 = $0.65/minute with a 30-day Rate Plan or Add-On and $0.50 + $0.50 = $1.00/minute with regular Pay Per Use). No indication was made that the call was being charged and the error message appeared to be similar in nature to the error messages encountered on other carriers (where no fee was charged).
  • Though Google Voice is not a phone service, I included it here for reference, as it performs similar functions and many people use it in place of a phone service. I plan to discuss iNum support of similar carriers in a follow-up post.
  • Where the particular phone plan used for the test is not known, [unknown] is displayed. Where the cost of an SMS or call is unknown, $?.?? is displayed and the SMS or call succeeded.
  • Roaming tests were conducted using the plan for the given carrier mentioned previously, by manually selecting the local carrier using the phone’s network selection mechanism. Prices listed above include all extra roaming fees (if any were charged). Though T-Mobile claims to support Bell and Telus roaming, a “No access” response was received while trying to roam on those networks.

If you have any questions about any of the above results or methodology, please contact me or leave a comment. If you believe that any of the above SMS send failures or incomplete calls have been corrected since I tested, let me know and I’ll attempt to re-test.

Conclusion

I was pleased to see how many carriers delivered SMS to iNum. However, the lack of widespread support for iNum calling means an iNum cannot be used as a general-purpose phone number in Canada and the US.

It would be nice if there were a wiki or similar for posting details like those in the table above; in addition to the general unavailability of pricing information, I found that the current iNum SMS reach page shows Wind as routing SMS, while my tests showed that this failed.

I’m hopeful for iNum in the long run. In the near future, though, one will need to use location-specific phone numbers that connect directly to the PSTN, at least for reasonable voice/SMS support in the US and Canada.

As mentioned above, I’d be happy to field any questions, either through my contact form or in the below comments.

6 Responses to “iNum SMS/voice support and pricing matrix for various Canadian and US carriers”


  • There are two free methods of calling iNum from Google Voice:

    1) using a “local” PSTN gateway e.g., in the USA, dial (from GV):

    http://www.inum.net/?page_id=42

    and then when prompted enter the iNum

    2) establish a Google Chat userid for the target callee e.g.,

    8835100011nnnnn@INUM.NET

    and then CHAT-CALL

    • Thanks for those details, P Weiss.

      My goal for these reach tests was to see which providers could access iNum using a direct dial. This is so that people could potentially add my iNum to their contact list and then call me directly that way.

      Using a PSTN gateway is an option for virtually any SIP number (SIPBroker has a similar list of gateways: http://www.sipbroker.com/sipbroker/action/pstnNumbers ). It’s certainly nice to have, but doesn’t provide the direct dial feature I’m looking for.

      In general, when testing providers, I used their default dialing interface to place iNum calls. This is usually the dialer on one’s phone. But for Google Voice it’s less obvious what the default dialing interface would be. So you may have a point with the Google Chat option.

      However, I think that for a number to be accessible from Google Voice, one should be able to dial it from the Android dialer app, then select the “Call with Google Voice” option (which appears with the Google Voice app installed and configured). I’m not sure this is possible for the Google Chat option you mentioned so I’d be hesitant to include that in my assessment of reachability by direct dialing.

      I may add clarification about the conditions I consider for the reachability/costs shown above if people feel it is generally unclear.

  • On my cellphone (and I suspect most) there is a telephone address book feature that allows PAUSE or WAIT when dialing a PSTN gateway number and then entering the IVR iNum. This method is not so different in complexity in using any address book (speed dial) entry.

    I would expect many would use an address book entry to dial any iNum since they are a bit longer than a standard 1+10d.

    I’ve tried this dozens of times and am satisfied with my results.

    Pete

  • I got an IP video phone (grandstream gxv3175) and was trying to communicate using the format:- name@sip.domain.com. this was not possible as with many voip phones.
    do you know of any voip video phone from which you can dial directly as above or one that will do SIPdomain-to-numericPrefix tranlation,
    or any way to use dialing plans to achieve above.

  • Greetings

    iNum voice – currently it works only via routing offered by iNum provider. For iNum to really catch on and become popular, it has to be registrable on softphone like a SIP.

    iNum sms – how did you guys receive texts sent to your iNum, on your regular mobile number? exactly how please?

    Best
    James
    Hong Kong

    • Per http://www.inum.net/?p=311 you can test sending SMS to an iNum by texting an email address to +883 5100 0000 0094. It will send you an email at that address, which includes the sender number, if your SMS is received.

      You can also get an iNum from https://speap.io/ and receive SMS sent to that iNum via email or XMPP.

      When testing SMS, I sent a text message to the above two providers and confirmed it was received by both.

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