[kwlug-disc] Unlimitel/ATA pricing

L.D. Paniak ldpaniak at fourpisolutions.com
Sat Mar 14 12:27:11 EDT 2009

Hash: SHA1

Your "directory" need not be a public entity. A PBX like trixbox or
Elastix (or Asterisk directly) can be programmed to automatically route
calls to minimize cost.  It is only a small step up in complexity from a
basic system configuration.  The easiest/cheapest way to do this is to
have remote extensions attached to the PBX.  Calls between extensions
are free. Of course, you can't give an extension to everyone.

As a side-note, it may be possible to setup a "hotline" between two
phones over a LAN (VPN) using a pair of ATAs and *no* intermediate PBX.
 The phones will only be able to call each other (hence hotline) but
this might be a useful config in some cases.  I have not tried this
trick myself.

Thanks to Andrew for the detail on the CICS!  Very helpful!

Insurance Squared Inc. wrote:
> I appreciate the pricing comment.  I'm using unlimitel at my office.  My
> total monthly charges including access, long distance, and toll free are
> noticeably less than the base line costs from Bell *excluding* long
> distance and toll free.    And in addition to substantial savings, I get
> way more features, like on 2 dids I have 10 lines total instead of the 3
> that I wanted as the base.
> It just seems that long term, if there was some automated directory
> integrated into Asterisk that says "if this number is in the directory,
> connect directly, otherwise go through my provider".  Eventually this
> could get to the point where most of are calls are free - and push
> things to the point where people are saying 'i can't call you if you're
> not on voip'.  I like that idea; pay for internet access and get all my
> communications for free from there.  As has been pointed out in this
> conversation previously, the idea of paying for phone communications is
> a legacy thing anyway.
> The only problem with my bright idea of a directory is spamming.  What's
> worse than a public directory of everyone's email address?  A public
> directory of your phone number that's free to call and open
> internationally.
> g.
> Andrew Kohlsmith (lists) wrote:
>> 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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