International Dialing on VoIP

Is VoIP International Dialing Different from Traditional?

Often times when we bring on new customers the topic of International Dialing comes up. I am amazed that 90% of businesses never make international calls but for the 10% that do it is sometimes considered a hassle when using VoIP (Voice Over IP).

So what is the difference between making international calls over the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) and with VoIP. The main difference is PSTN cannot be easily hacked and VoIP can. When you have analog lines or a PRI (Primary Rate Interface) it is extremely difficult for a hacker to intercept this line outside your office. Typically they have to hack your premise based PBX to gain access to the lines. With VoIP it is much easier for a hacker and there is much more exposure outside the customers office via the Internet to hack the VoIP lines.

Simply stated with a cell phone or PSTN line you can only make a international call if you have access to that cell phone or PBX. With VoIP there are many tricks used such as IP Spoofing and Brute Force password hacking. WARNING!!! Don’t ever register an IP Phone with a simple password. Did I mention employees who quit or have family overseas? I have seen it all.

Protecting Our Customers and Us

So here is where the hassle comes in. If one of our customers wishes to make international calls what can we do?

First step of course is ask the customer to sign an agreement letting them know they are responsible for all International Charges and explain to them why it is necessary. Then we ask them to give us a list of the Extensions that should have access to ID (International Dialing) and then we create a special password for each user that must be entered for each call. We also get a list of countries they wish to call and only open access to those. Then we restrict all the other users from dialing international. I can see your reaction right now, “What a hassle”, ” You guys are hard to work with”. I agree, but you will appreciate all the money I potentially save you.

Who Is Responsible If You Get Hacked?

Recently a great customer of ours called me and needed to be part of a conference call in Europe in like 15 minutes and needed ID turned on. Not having time to go through the process I outlined above I turned on ID for that customer without the restrictions. As life goes I forgot to turn it off and about a week later I received a call from our provider at 4AM letting me know that a bunch of international calls were being made and was I aware of it.  I immediately asked them to halt them. These calls only lasted 30 minutes. Two weeks later I received the bill from the carrier and fell on the floor. There were $3200.00 worth of calls made in 30 minutes. I can just tell you that the fastest way to loose a customer is to go to them and try to recoup this cost. I had broken my own rules and I literally paid the price. The carriers of the world have no grace in this matter so forgive me for stressing the importance of this.

For those of you who do not know how things work here it is in a nut shell. We buy buckets of dial tone from the major carriers which we distribute to all our customers. We are responsible for every call made. Period. No Grace.

Conclusions

I hope I have explained the behind the scenes world of International Dialing with VoIP. We love providing this service to our customers and we go the extra distance to make sure they are protected. Most people are totally unaware and do not understand why they have to do all this as they never did when they were with Frontier or Spectrum or fill in the blank. Using VoIP to make your International calls is much less expensive than traditional so it is a great deal. If you are using Voice Over IP make sure you address this with your provider so you get no surprises.

For more information on Voice Over IP, Hosted Phones or IP-PBX in Tampa call 813-852-2222.

Drew Martin
 

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