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.
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.