Making calls 97% cheaper!

 

By Simon Woodhead

Did you know, there are now 30 countries around the world with some form of origin-based pricing? In other words, 30 destination countries where the charge for a call depends not just on where it is going to but also where it is coming from, in the form of surcharges that can be 10-30x the price of the underlying call. This includes most of Europe, but not exclusively Europe.

We have stopped short of passing this kind of complexity on to you because, frankly, giving you a rate sheet 2m rows long wouldn’t be well received. However, just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know about it.

We terminate calls to most of Europe in-country, which not only gives the best quality, but also the best rates. That does not escape origin-based pricing though, as falsifying the origin of a call would be fraudulent. Many networks are actively fighting to combat that anyway as there are people out there trying it on.

The alternative would be to dump the call on an international operator (as you do to us), but then they need to work out the origin-based pricing. Faced with losing money at the in-country rate, or creaming a fat margin at the fully surcharged rate, what do you think they’d opt for? Yep, you’d be right! Break out the rate sheet from your favourite incumbent and check out Europe.

Beware if you have one at the other range of the scale too. Some are assuming no surcharges in their pricing, but reserve the right to back-charge any unexpected costs they may have. Ouch.

There’s a huge technology aspect here. If you’re generating rate sheets by hand-editing a CSV in vi (on Gentoo, no doubt), you’re going to be making safe assumptions on what that rate should be. Likewise, if you run magic boxes, you’re constrained by whatever algorithm you licensed. Neither are perfect but they’re the approach the majority of the market have no choice but to take. Ok, Gentoo is a choice, but you get my point!

As usual, we do things slightly differently!

  1. Firstly, we know what every call is going to cost over every potential route for your profile of traffic. We know that in real-time along with the 200-odd other checks we do in real-time to protect you. This includes any origin-based surcharge applicable to that exact call.
  2. Origin-based surcharges were part of the reason for our move to CLI filtering, i.e. we were paying them simply because CLI was crap. Thanks to your hard work, we’ve cut our origin-based surcharges by almost 50%, and the remainder are intentional!
  3. If you do incur us a surcharge on a call, we know in real-time when we route it. We continually meter profit and loss for every account to every destination, so arbitrage can be stamped on immediately. We’ll still route calls (for most customers) that incur us a loss, but where the pattern of traffic trips certain thresholds, our system will disallow such calls.
  4. Our rate generation is entirely algorithmic and is based on actual cost. With the help of some impressively fast cloud database technology, we’re able to automatically throw around the actual costs on hundreds of millions of calls to arrive at proposed rates sheets. These optimise quality and availability at the best price for destinations which have a statistically significant level of traffic.
  5. We’re continually billing calls against benchmark competitors’ rates as well as our own. Where a competitor has a lower price than our proposed rate (an actual longest prefix match, not just a nominal match), we will match it if we safely can. Where they’re wrong in the other direction, we will maintain our lower algorithmic price.

Put all that together and, hopefully, you’ll get some idea why our rates are massively cheaper for the destinations you have traffic, with quality that is usually better.

By way of example, break out your June prices from your other carriers and check out France Mobile. 15-20p I guess, 30p maybe? Simwood – 2.28p on our Startup deck for all mobile excluding the Satellite network. Virtual Interconnect and Managed Interconnect customers enjoy generally lower rates. That isn’t a managed example either as the rate hasn’t changed in a while. Germany Mobile is another example before we get into breakouts like ‘France – CLEC’ which is over 97% cheaper on Simwood than one competitor. We invite you to check out the same differential across other destinations and are more than happy to run your CDRs through our pricing tools.

Every time we update rates, we see more and more destinations being reduced, which is almost addictive. We hope you like what we’re trying to do and would love to hear what difference it is making to you. Certainly, we need it to be making a difference to you because 30p a minute more margin for doing less work is very tempting!