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Skype Is Not (Yet) A Phone Company

A lot of people think of Skype as their phone company. Many, like me, who have Skype In and Skype Out use it as a way to replace, or as an alternative, to their landline with devices that are far more universal (not to mention more atractive) that the old fashioned telephone that connects to an RJ-11. And now with the FreeTalk Home Phone Adapter, you can even connect one of those to your network and use that old phone to make a call to Skype users, or receive calls that are coming to your Skype ID. So, while oneday technology like that would make Skype a phone company, they're not--or so they would say, all to avoid regulatory issues. Issues, which I predict won't still be there under Microsoft, which at this point prefers to not run afoul of the regulatory folks, anywhere.

But, Skype is still not a phone company. And nothing proved it more than my recent experience with a bank credit card and my belief that the call I made to them and the ensuing discussion that I had travel statius on it, was true. It wasn't. It seemd the bank in question, uses some anti fraud measures, including wanting you to verify the phone number you called from, the next time you call in. Well, for me, that's easy, as I use my GoogleVoice number as the number presented. Except in this case it seems, and likely others. How come?

Well Skype, like Vonage in the past, uses a number of outbound trunks to dump traffic to the 800 number network. In those cases the ANI (automatic number identification) that's presented to the receiving parties system, as the Caller ID is the trunk, not my Skype presented number. Thus, the anti-fraud anti-spoofing technology used by the bank thinks I'm calling from some outbound trunk that is presented by me, and thousands of others calling the bank. Now, had I called the bank using their local number none of this would have happened, as the number presented would be the number I have Skype regularly presenting whne call are made to PSTN. 

This is different from how a real PSTN or even true VoIP company, which follows all the rules operates. But those carriers are phone companies. But Skype is not (for now) a phone company so they don't have to follow those same standards that even MagicJack has to. But, overtime, making calls to 800 numbers that follow the standards, just like calls to 911 will have to for Skype, because at some point, Skype under Microsoft say they do offer phone services, and formally drop the defensive game of saying their not.

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