Phone Number technology to radically change VoIP

A directory will be created which will oblige VoIP service providers to interconnect their network rather than reroute calls over the public telephone network.

In effect, the Enum (from tElephone NUmber Mapping) registry creates the equivalent of secondary roads to alleviate traffic and reduce congestions and associated costs.

Enum reverses the numbers in a traditional phone string, puts dots between the digits and then adds "e164.arpa" at the end. So that the number +44 208 555 4333 would become 3.3.3.3.4.5.5.5.8.8.0.2.e164.arpa.

The registry will be run by Nominet which is already in charge of the dot UK registry and could potentially oversee the convergence of traditional phone numbers, email addresses and VoIP numbers.

Jay Daley, Technical Director at Nominet told the BBC that "It's going to change the business model for communication providers quite seriously".

Such a system is going to encourage more people to use VoIP as competing platforms will use the same system to communicate.

This could prove to be a setback for Skype who counts on its sheer number of users to crush its rivals.

However, Daley has pointed out that 0800 freephone numbers might not be supported for now; Other European countries have already been working on similar ENUM solutions.