Why doesn’t everyone have a Virtual Number?

So says the guy selling them right? Well hear me out, most of us who fall under the categories of entrepreneur, webmaster or internet junkie know of the benefits associated with having a virtual number. We use them to post on our “Contact Us” pages or maybe you used one because the travel site you developed needed a Canada virtual number for local clients to call.

What about the average Joe buying phone cards every week at the local lottery store to keep in touch with his daughter abroad? I happen to be lucky enough to live in the melting pot of the world – New York City. There are still many international callers here who still fuss around with access numbers and PINS.  They seem to be communicating with the same people over and over- a mother in Brazil or maybe a brother you keep in touch with in Spain.

I blame it on the name for one, “virtual numbers” sounds like a domain you’d register in the 90’s, but those are the cards we were dealt and we’ll have to deal with it.  Most sites who offer similar services are clumsy and really seem to cater to the techie. Terms like SIP Address or Asterisk PBX Configuration files usually fly right over the average user’s heads. At FlyNumber we are trying to make virtual numbers simpler to use and easier to understand.

My favorite and by far our most popular forwarding option is Skype. Considering how many new Skype users are added everyday it’s no surprise more and more users want to forward to their Skype accounts. It’s also incredibly cheap. Let’s use the Spain model where I’m in New York and my brother lives in Spain; $3.95 month buys me unlimited incoming minutes to my Skype running on my iPhone.  So my brother can call me anytime and it won’t cost more than 4 bucks a month. Granted, I may want to call him, all I have to do is the reverse; get him a New York number that I can call and we’ll forward  it to his Skype account in Spain- that would be $3 a month with unlimited minutes as well.

Skype offers their own “virtual numbers” called Skype-in; I’m not sure what the future holds for Skype-in numbers though. In the past 12 months they dropped both Brazil and Italy. After the Microsoft acquisition I can only hope Microsoft will keep Skype as “Open” as possible. Allow developer’s access to new API’s and encourage more new apps being built around Skype and I promise the future looks real good for Skype.

By Nader Jaber

Helping people communicate while trying to improve as a communicator myself.

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