Today is a big day for Plivo — we are announcing full support for Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC). And this is a delightful news for enterprises, telephony service providers and teams of developers. We would like to think of this as a huge step forward to what we envisioned from day 1: a truly open, scalable API platform for those who need voice and messaging capabilities.
How it works.
First it’s helpful to understand how cloud telephony works at a high level. You can think of Cloud Telephony as consisting of three key components; technology, operations & infrastructure, and carrier. Technology refers to any technological means that delivers the actual communications service such as call tracking software or SIP trunking. Infrastructure is where the technology is based such as media servers that deal with signaling. Operations mean a team or a proxy of it that does the maintenance work of the infrastructure. And the last piece is a carrier which gives you the ability to connect to PSTN that is local landline.
These are the primitives that make cloud telephony possible and all are required for people to be able to use cloud telephony in full. And they tend to be offered by API providers as a bundled product.
**What BYOC gives you is the magical ability to unbundle the carrier part **as described in the diagram above and bring the carrier that best suits your interest.
What BYOC means to you.
It means now you have the ability to use your existing carriers that you are under contract with or choose a carrier that gives you the most favorable deal, even when the carrier is not supported at any given time by us. Thereby you can fully leverage a decision that can bring you the biggest cost advantage.
To top it all off, you can easily expand your international business in a local area where an API provider doesn’t have the relationship with any carrier in the region. You can freely set up a contract with the local carrier on your own and let us connect with the carrier.
If this doesn’t sound too convincing to you, we can tell you three reasons why you need to take BYOC seriously.
First, think about the situation where you are forced by an API provider to deal with a certain set of carriers in order to use their API. If you have an existing contract with a carrier which the API provider doesn’t support, you have no choice but to give up on the relationship you might have earned through years of time and efforts. In a business world, relationships mean dollars.
Second, think about the migration cost. Changing carriers will mean changing phone numbers and lines. Porting numbers takes time. The migration overhead especially for a business with established communication infrastructure won’t be negligible.
Third, think about the possibility of reducing the service cost by avoiding a steep markup price, imposed by cloud API providers.
These are all somewhat hidden cost. We’ve learned that most API users aren’t full informed of these costs. Nor are they aware they can have an option to avoid these costs.
How you can use BYOC.
BYOC can be easily configured in Plivo’s user dashboard and via our API. You can easily set one or more carriers of your choice and connect it to our cloud. We allow you to use existing VoIP DIDs and Phone numbers virtually anywhere across the globe. It means you will be able to use your existing Outbound Termination Routes from any carrier, including even those requiring dedicated IP-based authentication. Practically you can use only the cloud infrastructure part of Plivo. And you will be charged a flat rate of $0.004 per minute. In other words, you get only what you need and pay for what you actually use.
Why we are doing this.
Over the past two years of the operation, we’ve seen many businesses and teams reluctant to move to the cloud due to carrier lock-in. Despite this, most API providers existing in the market could not offer BYOC largely due to their underlying business model, where they primarily want to resell their carrier minutes with markups.
Case in point.
This year we’ve partnered with Oracle ACME, a company acquired by Oracle early this year. We made concerted efforts to enable one of the major engineering universities in the U.S. to interconnect our cloud platform with their existing infrastructure. The flexibility we offered enabled the university staff and students to create exciting new communications applications—WebRTC, IVR, conferencing and other solutions.
Of course, it goes without saying the ability to bring their own carrier was the most pivotal of all, apart from the cloud advantage and the seamless interoperability with existing hardware that Plivo delivers. The university had already its communication infrastructure fully set up—session border controllers, phone numbers, incoming routes and outgoing routes.
Had they used other cloud service providers, they would have had to sever the relationship with the telecom they’ve used for years in order to move their infrastructure to the cloud. Fortunately with Plivo, they could migrate their set-up to the cloud without losing the ability to keep leveraging their existing numbers and lines. You can check the case study to learn more details.
Over the next few months, you will be seeing us roll out a few more interesting announcements, and we don’t want to jump the gun. We will keep focused on continuing our journey onwards to keep building the most open, scalable telephony API platform. You can check more details on carrier configuration in our API documentation and if you have any questions regarding BYOC or else, drop a line at support(at)plivo(dot)com.
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