What is iNum and where’s it going?

Over the years, iNum has become something of a Bandwidth institution. But how did it start?
A globe graphic with the word iNum on it

Over the years, iNum has become something of a Bandwidth institution. But how did it start? And what’s happening to it? These are questions we get a lot – and this blog post is designed to clear it all up.

Bandwidth started the iNum initiative all the way back in 2008. We wanted to create a single, global dial code for IP comms, to allow local call rates across global connections. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) allocated some of the non-geographic code +883 to us for just that.

A few different kinds of organization picked up iNum and began to use it for their communications – from enterprises to NGOs.

Where’s it going?

The problem that emerged was that while many network providers supported routing iNum calls, many more did not. And of those providers that did adopt the codes to route those calls, lots of them applied surcharges to the traffic. This negated the main value of the project.

This means that iNum didn’t ever see widespread adoption, and its uptake was limited to very specific use-cases.

Because of the proliferation of virtual numbering in recent years, we’ve reached a point at which the initiative is largely redundant. But it requires lots of maintenance and resource to continue supporting. That’s why, as of Q2 2020, Bandwidth has made the decision to transition support for iNum to its natural home: the International Telecommunication Union.

What does this mean for my business?

If you’re actively using iNum, don’t worry: the range will continue to exist. The only thing that’s different is the way it’s managed. We recommend going directly to the ITU to procure your numbers, ask questions about upkeep, or for any related queries.

If you’ve got a question about our historic role in this project, or another inquiry that ITU can’t answer, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our customer success team. We’re always on-hand to help.

Automagical phone number management?

It’s possible. Companies like Navex have offloaded phone number management headaches with Bandwidth’s automatic phone number management.

Talk to an expert