[kwlug-disc] Unlimitel/ATA pricing

Andrew Kohlsmith (lists) aklists at mixdown.ca
Sat Mar 14 11:34:22 EDT 2009


On March 12, 2009 08:56:45 pm Insurance Squared Inc. wrote:
> Whoa, full stop.  You're saying that if I have an asterisk system, and
> you have an asterisk system, we can call each other without paying
> unlimitel or whoever?

That is exactly correct.  Essentially that is what Unlimitel/LES.net/etc. all 
are... other systems that you call.  The difference is that they are giving 
you access to the PSTN through their system, and charging you for it.

> Is there special setup for that or is it relatively automated?  And
> who's got a directory running for this?  Because this seems like it has
> a lot of potential.  I'm on the phone all day to people running
> asterisk, and I'm paying both useage and inbound toll free charges for
> most of that.  If there was a simple directory setup that my system
> checked before calling so my call was free.....well, then I'd have free
> calling.

In reality, it's not often worth all the hassle.  There's also the DID 
exchange (didx.org), where you offer your phone line for local calling by 
others, in exchange that they do the same for you, but again... you're now 
using some random schmoe's internet connection and phone line... quality can 
vary wildly, and reliability suffers.

Honestly though, $0.011/min isn't a fortune, and I have significantly reduced 
the long distance bills for several businesses.  When I worked at Benshaw, 
their long distance went from $thousands to under $300/mo.  If I could have 
convinced their parent company to let me hook up an Asterisk box there for 
direct calling, I would have got that bill down to under $50/mo.  (most of 
their calls were to their parent company, with a decent internet 
connection -- that is where it makes sense to start worrying about direct 
connections without a provider).

-A.



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