DID Exchange in 2019? Why do we need another one? Part 1

Introduction

What is a DID Exchange ?

DID Exchange refers to a two or more carriers exchange their direct inward dialing (DID) numbers inventory over the internet, when people make phone calls around the world the phone service providers send these calls from one phone number to another, the process of carriers obtaining, provisioning and assigning one or more DID number to communication service provider network is basically a DID Exchange.

There are different type of Virtual DID numbers today:

  1. National
  2. Mobile
  3. Toll-Free
  4. Short-code

P.S: Is there a place for a new category ? Why do we need one ? will go into this in part 2 of this series.

Virtual DID numbers capabilities today:

  1. Voice Enabled
  2. Fax Enabled
  3. SMS Enabled
  4. Video Enabled

The problem — Why buily yet another DID Exchange platform ?

In this article i will not be discussing the reasons for virtual numbers growth, instead i will be focusing on why do we need to build an new DIDs Exchange platform.

P.S: i’m not focused on the problems related to North America Markets only. Instead i’m generally talking about international challenges when it comes to buying or selling DIDs.

If you have ever tried to buy or sell DIDs from operators before you’ll should immediately connect emotionally to this post. If not i will try to explain to you some of the problems you will face if you’re trying to connect to operators to obtain DID numbers.

Buying DIDs (General Challenges)

My experience is very similar to the experience we had before with Voice Carriers, which means to interconnect with one single carrier you need to spend months if not years “in some cases” to get the paper work done, business case approved and other questions like who is the customer, why they want to use the numbers and so on.

You also often want to deal with one entity when it comes to carrier connectivity to avoid the “Blame game” and be able to sort out issues fast and get to the bottom of it. Additionally when it comes to phone numbers inventory you face issues like which one to choose, as one DID provider has SMS Enabled numbers to some destination while the other does not. one has SMPP forwarding capability while the other only allows you to forward the phone number to a Webhook (HTTP URL).

In brief one DID provider does not cover all the needs for the buyer, you often need to purchase different numbers from different providers in order to cover your needs. in many ways this is a problem for the buyer when it comes to troubleshooting, billing management, different API docs and integrations.

Selling DIDs (General Challenges)

When selling DID numbers there is several issues today, some of the major problems i see is:

  1. Where do DID sellers find customers for those DIDs?
  2. When they do find customers, can they set their own terms (price, verification requirements, price per minute or message) ?
  3. How can they get paid instantly for those DID sales ?
  4. How to automatically manage the billing for purchases, cancelations and so on ?
  5. Find a market place that exposes programmable API (Application programming interface) for sellers to automate selling DID numbers.

Let’s start with question number one, finding good customers for DID numbers is not a simple task, it requires relationships, agreements in place, SLA (Service Level Agreement) and getting the big DID number consumers to consider working with a single small DID Numbering provider.

For example companies like Uber, Careem, Expedia, Godaddy, Lyft, Tesla and the alikes wont go for a single DID number provider in some island, in general they would deal with a CPaaS Provider like Twilio, Nexmo, Voxbone and others to get the phone numbers coverage that they need with the ability to manage their account using programmable API.

Ofcourse becoming a CPaaS provider just to sell your DID Numbers inventory does not make sense. so to solve that you need a market place that is already embedded and integrated with the CPaaS providers software in order to put your virtual phone numbers inventory in front of all the consumers.

Solution to question number two is simple, we need the DID exchange to allow us to set our own pricing values from a web portal or via API. Which would look something like this:

Selling a DID Virtual Number

Solution to question number three “How can to get paid instantly for those DID sales ?to solve this problem, the exchange platform must instantly transfer the DID sales into the seller account balance, the seller must have a way to instantly request a payout via (Bank, Prepaid Visa, PayPal ..)

Example:

Requesting DID Sales Payout

Now we have to solve the problem number 4 “How to automatically manage the billing for purchases, cancelations”, in order to solve this problem, the DID exchange must have a UI (User Interface) for sellers to view their listed DIDs, show status of purchased DIDs, who bought them, and how when is the next billing date, also to have a complete history of payouts and sales history.

Example:

My DIDs View

Finally to solve the last problem number 5 “Find a market place that exposes programmable API (Application programming interface) for sellers to automate selling DID numbers.” we just need the exchange to provide an API capability to the developer to be able to execute the same operations using API.

Programmable DID Selling via API Example:

In my opinion this is how simple selling a phone number(s) on the market place should be, this is just dummy example for a seller publishing their DID on the market place via API. in the real world it will include more parameters like: capabilities and DID type, verification required ….

This API example can demonstrate how a seller can buld his own DID selling UI using the API to manage and publish new APIs to the market place from any Web or Mobile UI.

The DID Exchange end result would look like this.

To be continued …

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