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Phone Number technology to radically change VoIP

A directory (opens in new tab) 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 "" at the end. So that the number +44 208 555 4333 would become

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.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.