The problem with mobile numbers

There’s a fundamental problem with mobile numbers, and it is that we only have one of them. It means that the chances are very strong that the last thing you did on your phone wasn’t to make or take a voice call.

Getting a second number means extra cost and will in all likelihood mean carrying two phones as very few handsets can support two SIMs. It means remembering which phone to use for which purpose.

Yet having just one phone number causes untold hassle. Spam that can originate because you used your mobile number to sign up to a website and it’s been sold on. Unwanted calls at inconvenient times because your mobile has to be either on or off and it’s a pain to install special apps to whitelist or blacklist callers (and anyway, you don’t know everyone who has your number).

Work related calls come at times when you are not at work, unnecessary personal calls come when you are at work, and calling is expensive when you are abroad.

A Lack of Control

Isn’t it a bit strange that our mobile phone number – something which most of us feel is a vital part of our everyday lives – is something we have to give away so readily, gets misused by others so frequently, and is so much out of our own control. In fact, isn’t it strange that for such an important personal item we so readily lose both control and security?

This has happened largely because operators have failed to keep up with the times. We use different social profiles and different email addresses to manage the personas we create for personal life, work life, selling stuff or even dating. But mobiles seem stuck in a ‘one size fits all’ rut. And imagine the uproar if we were charged extras for surfing a US website or sending an email to France. Yet mobile operators can charge us more for calling abroad or when we travel abroad. In today’s seamless, ubiquitous world, this concept goes against the grain.

Non-operator Innovation

The good news is that where operators have failed, new innovators are taking their place – and we at Vyke are leading that charge. Using new solutions Android and iPhone users can have up to 4 additional mobile numbers on one handset. Each number can be assigned to a persona for different parts of your mobile life and be managed independently. You turn them on and off when you want, give each its own voicemail greeting, and can delete a number when it’s not needed any more.

So, you can have a work number which you turn off when you are not at work, and a private number, and you’ve still got numbers to spare for specific areas of your life. Maybe you want a number for Gumtree, or a number for the dating app you’re using, for example.

Using these solutions you can have international numbers too, so you can be contacted “locally" from any of these countries without being there. This is great for those of us with international work commitments, and for ex-pats who can make and receive calls from their UK number, just as if they were in UK. Oh, and of course there are added messaging features, so you can call other app users, or chat and send photos or audio clips - all for free.

These solutions are changing the landscape, bringing mobile number control and security right back into your hands, making the cost of calls cheaper*, and providing the kind of number flexibility that operators won’t.

Mark Egginton CEO of Vyke

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