Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash
Interconnection, in general, is the physical (E1 / T1 lines) or virtual (IP-to-IP) connection between the networks of two (or more) providers. It is a process which involves both technical and commercial activities. The target of interconnection is to get access to the provider’s network at the best price and quality ratio. Providers that are offering VoIP services are usually seeking to interconnect with the biggest telecommunications companies in their market to ensure quality services and a competitive price for their clients.
In this case study, you will learn about the process of interconnecting with the British multinational telecommunications holding company BT (formerly British Telecom), which is the largest landline and mobile operator in the United Kingdom. Questions are answered by Chris Key, CEO of Hostcomm Ltd. The company helps organisations transform their customer service, outbound sales campaigns, data security and internal employee interaction. Hostcomm used class 5 softswitch MOR, developed by Kolmisoft for interconnecting to BT’s network.
What was the main reason for the interconnection with BT? What benefits does it bring for your VoIP business?
BT is the largest landline and mobile operator in the UK. Their service is reliable and connecting directly to them reduces the number of ‘hops’ in a telephone call, which improves quality. Porting numbers is less problematic because all UK operators have to have a porting agreement with BT. Also pricing is competitive and BT is considered trustworthy and a low risk option so Hostcomm often publicizes its BT Wholesale partner relationship.
Could you shortly describe the process of interconnection with BT for those who want to do the same?
BT conducts interoperability testing (IOT) with the proposed softswitch which involves around 60 tests such as correct Caller ID presentation, correct signalling for a variety of call outcomes, 999 service etc.
What were the biggest challenges during this process? How did you overcome them?
The biggest challenges were adapting to recent changes in Ofcom regulations regarding caller ID presentation. They were overcome by working closely with the engineers at Kolmisoft who were quick to make modifications to their code. Another challenge was having to do the testing during lockdown when the BT engineers were working from home and didn’t have the same system access.
What would you do differently in the future?
We probably should have conducted IOT testing a few years earlier.
What was the main reason that you decided to choose MOR for this interconnection?
The support is consistently very good. The MOR softswitch met our very strict feature criteria which included complex load balancing, fraud alerting, live visibility of calls, a good archiving system, clustering and a web API amongst other features.
Last question. Where do you see the VoIP business is going? What are the market trends in your opinion?
Hostcomm focusses on contact centers and we see a downward trend in call volumes due to the increase in chat communications and social media. The communications market is also very subject to change so it is therefore very important to have a low cost, flexible call routing system that does not limit the operator in any way. We are also seeing more regulation around high volume outbound call campaigns and an increase in call blocking services which is partly the reason for reduced call volumes. Anything which helps in these areas is going to be very useful.