I have a (212) number and I don’t live in New York!

If you are reading this blog, you are probably aware of the fact that phone numbers no longer represent a geographic setting. The advent of cellphones was the initial factor in changing our understanding of the phone number, the popularity of VoIP together with LNP freedom has completed this change forever.

Unfortunately, we are in a minority, even in the IP world. As Cory Andrews writes Craigslist, the most popular classified web site has decided to combat their spam problems by authenticating advertisers by their phone number.
Using a third party service, they do not accept your ad if they determine it is a VoIP number and not what they call a “fixed line” number.

Maybe a good idea, but it ain’t working. I checked a number of my company’s numbers and wonders of wonders Craig classified them as “fixed lines”. Of course they are not. But here is the problem, LNP enables you to take a number from the “fixed line” world and transfer it anywhere. So at what point does it become a “non-fixed” line??

Craigslist should wake up and realize that a phone number is like an email address, one delivers text, the other voice. Just because I have an email address with a ISP based in NY, do you assume I am in New York? Of course not, well a telephone number is no different. It is just a pointer to a IP address, no more, no less.

The applications are endless, I have a customer who sells Moving and Relocation services in the USA. His office is in another country and when you call his number in New York (or Texas for that matter…) it rings in his office a few thousand miles away. Last weekend he went on a vacation, not wanting to lose business (each sale is thousands of dollars) he called up asking if he can take his IP phone to the Hotel. Of course I told him, just plug it in.

That is just an example, so the next time you call 212, don’t assume that you are calling New York, chances are – you are not.

So what does a number mean then? How long will 212 numbers in NY and 207 numbers in London to mention 2 examples be more sought after than 646 and 203 in the same cities? A year? two? Or maybe a generation will have to pass before their shine wears off?

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