Intelligent Solutions

Calling all Carriers and Platform Operators (Part 1 – Dinosaurs)

Simon Woodhead

Simon Woodhead

21st March 2024

By Simon Woodhead

It has been 28 years since we had our first API (the term ‘API’ didn’t exist then – they were ‘web services’) and something like 24 years since we first started playing with SIP. I reflect occasionally on how much this industry has changed, but at the same time how much it hasn’t. A lot of the SIP innovators who were there in the early noughties have moved on to new sectors, the entrepreneurs we saw come in in the 2010s have built, exited, and in some cases moved on. The 2020s have brought a new cohort and it is here we see the real contrast I’d like to talk about.

On the positive, we now have multi-billion global platform operators doing a lot of the cool stuff we dreamed of 20 years ago, at global scale. However, at the carrier end of things, I struggle to see any change – those minute-jocks who sold minutes and lines in the 90s still sell minutes and lines but are embracing this “new” SIP thing, packaged into – you guessed it – minutes and lines. In the middle we have those who’ve come on this journey with us and are still fighting or thriving in their own niches, as well as a whole raft of debt funded roll-ups who don’t seem to have a clue but are loving the opportunity to sell lots of minutes and lines.

This strikes me as a massive disconnect. Those global platform operators don’t logically want to build carrier operations around the world, and they can’t buy what they need from legacy carriers who are too afraid of transformative change to offer anything more than vanilla lines and minutes over SIP. So how does the consumer see progress? The answer for the consumer has to be ‘over the top’, with lines and minutes a direct casualty that I don’t see surviving at scale for a decade. It’ll always be there, just as fax is still there, but the global fax operators of today aren’t those who were scared of change 30 years ago. Dinosaurs do not survive an ice-age.

There is one exception globally and that is Simwood – we bridge the gap. We’ve always built towards the future but invested in the past sensibly in order to have market and Regulatory position. We’re a carrier in the UK and the US, to give amazing economics and single-hop routing to most other operators yet our network is of 2024 spec and evolving every day. We’re not afraid of change, we live it, and in doing so we bridge the gap between what modern global operators need, and the legacy voice networks they need to connect to for now. Need Opus codecs for your OTT apps – check. Need AMR codecs for your mobile needs – check. Need a  rich API for porting and OSS/BSS integration – check. Need to scale into your own number ranges being hosted with the full feature stack – check. Need ground-floor economics you won’t get out of a legacy carrier – check. Need a single integration covering incumbent operations in 7 countries with segregated billing – check. Need customer-level CDR tagging – check. Need latency-based routing and global load balancing – check. And on and on and on.

We care about voice and we think the voice channel will live forever (until Elon releases augmented-telepathy at least) but we really don’t care about the PSTN or the per-minute model that our competitors rely on and seem to think will last forever. SIP and PSTN are just two of the routes into and out of our network – and we continue to add more e.g. WebRTC, Teams, Zoom – and why we offer any-to-any routing. We’re a software house, but one that happens to be an infrastructure-based carrier in the UK and the US with fully on-shore support and porting desks. If you’re a modern platform operator you have a choice – deal with a dinosaur who doesn’t understand you and is going to stay the same until an extinction event, or deal with an agile operator that thinks and works like you do, but just so happens to have all the market position and the same economics as the dinosaur but with less weight to drag around. Together we can grow through the extinction of lines and minutes and deliver awesome things to your awesome customers.

If you haven’t already chosen the progressive approach, give us a call.

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