The 1990s and 2000s were a golden era of globalization.
Global trade in goods and services, as well as capital flows across borders, reached unprecedented levels. As a result, businesses started to require more advanced voice communications solutions.
In response to globalization, Voxbone launched a project called the iNum Initiative in 2008.
The iNum Initiative created a single, global dial code for IP communications. Basically, it meant that Voxbone numbers would have their own country code +883.
iNum stands for International NUMber.
Specifically, iNums were virtual phone numbers in the format +883 5100 XXXXXXXX. These numbers were supposed to be reachable globally at local calling rates.
What Happened to iNum?
The international numbering concept sounds fantastic. As a business, the idea of having a global phone number that is reachable from anywhere at the cost of a local call sounds great.
Unfortunately, iNum never really took off.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) did allocate part of the +883 country code to Voxbone as part of this initiative. But, only a few global voice carriers really supported the new international numbering format.
Support from International Carriers
Many carrier networks supported the routing of iNum, but many others did not.
Also, while some voice carriers adopted iNum, they would apply surcharges to the traffic. This defeated the concept.
Voxbone made these numbers accessible via SIP. And it’s still possible to call an iNum for free through SIP in the format +8835100XXXXXXX @ inum . net. But not many end-users are placing calls through SIP.
So, iNum never saw widespread adoption and was limited to very narrow use cases. It also required a lot of maintenance to continue supporting.
Looking Forward: International Virtual Numbers
The iNum range still exists. However, we don’t provide this solution and very few vendors do.
You’ll need to purchase these numbers directly from the ITU.
But anyway, the concept of iNum has become redundant in recent years. Due to the widespread adoption of international virtual numbers, iNum is now unnecessary for the most part.
Rather than setting up a complex iNum with a foreign country code, businesses can set up international toll-free numbers and local numbers in different countries. This makes your business reachable over the phone for free or at the cost of a local call, which is essentially what iNum was created to do.
If you have any questions about iNum or its alternatives, just reach out to one of our global communications experts.