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Recognizing that calling code confusion currently costs the world’s telecom carriers hundreds of millions of dollars annually, Arbinet-thexchange Inc. (www.thexchange.com), a full-service trading solution for buyers and sellers of telephony bandwidth, has implemented an international calling code management program.

Arbinet averages more than 255 changes in international codes each month because of worldwide deregulation and explosive growth in wireless services, according to Chris Reid, the company’s director of marketing.

This program addresses the potential financial impact of code omissions and errors for the company’s members, Reid explains.

Financial losses can occur when carriers cannot terminate calls to new codes, undercharge customers for premium services, or operate with noncompetitive cost structures on routes because of a lack of information regarding low-cost termination options.

According to Reid, the situation is becoming more difficult for carriers to manage as the number of network operators increases as countries deregulate and encourage competition. This gives rise to increasing numbers of calling codes and tariffs for fixed, mobile and audio text services.

Carriers lose money because of code errors when they cannot terminate calls to recently implemented codes globally, Reid explains. They fail to break out city destinations from “proper” codes (a “proper” code allows a carrier to complete calls within an entire country, but typically at a higher cost than city breakouts); and they routinely send high-priced mobile traffic over standard agreements hoping calls will be completed at the lower-priced fixed termination rate. The seller that accepts this traffic loses at least 10 cents per minute.

Arbinet has developed comprehensive code intelligence, which is revised biweekly and is available to members. These data are used to define markets, and to program the company’s trading engine and switching platform, to ensure that buyers and sellers match up exactly on the specific types of service they agree to buy, sell and deliver.

The benefits for members include:

* Buy side: The exchange lowers a buying member’s cost by filling orders in real time at the per-call level, at the lowest cost termination available in the market at the specified price ceiling and quality parameters. Because codes are matched by proprietary software at the per-call level, Arbinet identifies and routes calls to specific destinations globally onto low-cost termination breakouts posted by selling members.

* Sell side: The exchange insulates a selling member from the financial risk of code mismanagement and fraud. Arbinet’s software examines codes at a per-call level and allows traffic that matches a specific sell order a member has posted in the market to be sent onto the selling member’s network. Calls destined for higher tariff breakouts, such as mobile codes, are blocked unless the selling member has entered a specific ask-order for this route.

“The global telecommunications market is becoming much more complex as a result of the explosion of new carriers and codes unleashed by deregulation,” says Curt Hockemeier, Arbinet- thexchange president and CEO.

He adds that developing international calling code intelligence is central to what an exchange must do.

“It allows us to protect sellers through price and code differentiation and, at the same time, deliver the lowest prices to buyers by automatically routing to city breakouts where they exist,” Hockemeier explains.

Automated delivery through an exchange is accomplished by using software and processes that link the web-based trading platform with carrier-grade telecommunications switching equipment.

Arbinet estimates the global market in 2000 for telephony bandwidth measured in minutes reached $706 billion.

PhonemagTeam

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