Let me start by admitting that I am a complete and utter nerd when it comes to data and numbers. I’m out of control! I love numbers so much that 10 years ago I decided to start TTNC (The Telephone Number Company) and apply to Ofcom for 7 million telephone numbers.
It took about 2 years for the techies and various consultants (on a gazillion pounds a day!) to build out our network, servers, switches and platform. While that was going on, I was getting busy with paperwork - and lots of it!
3 giant steps into telecoms
- My 1st step was to register TTNC as a telecoms provider. This involved submitting network diagrams, carrier contracts and countless other documents.Once registered as a Public Electronic Communications Network (PECN) provider, we were able to send and receive calls to and from the public telephone network.
- The next step was applying to Ofcom for our number ranges. That is simple enough, but I wanted to apply for over 7 million numbers, covering every area code in the UK as well as all other types of number ranges - so this was a huge task.I started off by applying for our non-geographic numbers (freephone, premium rate and personal numbers). 924 pages of application forms for 1.22 million numbers across 132 different ranges.Then I moved on to applying for our geographic numbers. 668 different area codes, or 6.1 million numbers in total. That was 4,676 pages of forms.
- Once we had the numbers, we had to get them working. You ask for carriers to “Databuild” your number ranges. This means that they added our numbers and various network details to their routing tables so when someone using their networks calls one of numbers, it’ll be recognised, billed and traffic passed onto it. This is a painful process! You’re limited by the amount of ranges you can submit, and it can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to get numbers working on all carriers.Once everything was in place, tested, tested again and then tested again, we were ready to rumble and start the business for real.
A lot can happen in a decade
Since then we’ve gone through a lot. When I think about where we started from, what we’ve been through, where we’re at now and where we’re going next, I like to look at data.
I like to think about how we’ve worked with Ofcom and Otelo to create a process for customers whose service provider went into liquidation to keep their phone service alive, free of charge. We did this for over 3,000 businesses once!
I like to look at real world facts, like how many calls we process each day. Or how many customers listen to voicemails, or how many missed call alerts we send out.
That type of data shows that our customers are using our services. If people are using our service, that means we’re doing something useful in the world - and that’s a nice place to be.