More call tariff options (including NPA-NXX)


By Simon Woodhead

Given our position of being a licensed CLEC in 21 States of the USA, and having numbering in 100% of the USA, as well as our evolution to a single ‘global platform’, we’ve introduced NPA-NXX billing. For those not familiar with the US market, this is the explosion of rating for the USA and Canada into 200k+ codes of 6 digits (plus the international +1 code), each at different pricing. For anyone operating in that market and wanting maximum price granularity, this is what you’ve wanted. We’ve offered it on a dedicated Simwood Inc platform but it is now merged into the core Simwood ‘global platform’ and, by definition, available globally.

For those who scream ‘OMG, your rate files are already huge’ this is part of a bigger change we think you’ll like. Our rate files are large because we’ve always believed that if the capital city of a country is 10% of the price of the rest of it, we should expose that saving to you rather than blend to the higher price for the sake of having a small rate sheet; ditto the individual mobile networks. It is basic honesty in our book, but we know some of you don’t like extensive rate sheets for a variety of reasons. We even had one customer bemoan us offering cheaper rates on some UK destinations (fixed and mobile) because his LCR (uniquely in the world, and for no discernible reason) favoured the shortest / least-specific prefix, not the lowest cost for the longest match. Thus as a result of us reducing prices to him, he was switching his traffic to someone who blended to a much higher price! For the future of mankind I hope that isn’t a common situation, but recognise there are numerous sensible reasons for needing smaller files!

Effective today, as well as distinct tariffs for your account derived from your service level (Startup, Virtual Interconnect, Managed Interconnect), you can now opt into a selection of code profiles which give you either more granular routing and pricing, or more aggregated. Please note the prices change too – if you want blended codes, you get a blended price and vice versa – there is no arbitrage opportunity here. The current options are:

ProfileDescriptionApprox prefixes
Standard A-Z(this is what you have had until now)Standard A-Z with expanded UK codes302.6k
Standard A-Z plus NPA-NXXStandard A-Z, with expanded UK codes and full NPA-NXX for the USA and Canada338.5k
CompressedStandard A-Z with reduced UK, USA and Canada codes94.3k

Of course, all tariffs are still available in the three billing currencies (GBP, USD, EUR) – yes you can have NPA-NXX billed in EUR if you’re so inclined. Obviously you can’t switch currencies (again, no arbitrage opportunity here either!), your account currency is whatever you elected on account set-up.

The astute may ask “don’t we have NPA-NXX already?” and I understand why you might ask that. When we expanded our US codes we greatly increased the number of prefixes in the file and many of them are indeed NPA-NXX, but there’s two key differences. Firstly, rather than every NPA-NXX having a unique rate, we grouped the US into 5 price bands. Secondly, where common pricing and contiguous codes enable us to, we make the prefix shorter / less specific to reduce the size of the rate file. Neither of these are the case with the new/true NPA-NXX codes. 

This does mean there are a lot of rate files but the portal and API already give you the appropriate filename for you to download. This does mean some of you will need to update your code however as we suspect you’ve looked up the filename in the API exactly once and then scheduled downloads. The filename will be changing with an imminent update so you will either need to look it up every time (as intended) or tweak the name of the file you’re grabbing.

If you want to switch your account to a different code profile, please reach out to our support team specifying which you’d like. They can share the sheet in advance if you like but the switchover is fairly binary and within a few minutes of it happening you’ll see calls billed according to the new codes, and the new rate sheets available through the portal API. We can’t/won’t time this to the second so please don’t ask for credits for the transition and please understand we do not expect to switch a given account more than once. Equally of course, a given account cannot have more than one code profile!

The technology we’ve developed here also means we can add further code structures in the future. These require managing right the way through our system so it isn’t a zero-cost exercise, but if there’s a business case for, say, collapsing Argentina (no pun intended) or expanding Australia, we have the capability to do so. Please talk to us!

I hope this is a welcome change and look forward to your thoughts.