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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Awesome service

OK, this is fantastic idea.

If you use Internet IM a lot, you'll know the benefits of having multiple identities. I also use Yahoo! Mail Plus, which gives me "disposable email addresses" linked to my main account. So I can use the addresses (or in this case phone number) for people I don't really know, or that I think might send me loads of spam. If any of them get over-spammed, I can simply bin that address, safe in the knowledge that my friend can still reach me on my "proper" email address.

That said, this "Tossable Digits" thing looks a bit pricey - $5 for a month, and you get some clunky fixed-line + 5 digit extension number. And it won't cope with SMS by the look of things. By comparison, Yahoo! charges something like $20 a year for their whole "Plus" service, including a whole bunch of features.

This should be offered as an operator service here. I'd gladly pay, say, $2-3 per month for a spare, bin-able mobile number - which should get a huge gross margin as it really only needs a number-translation server somewhere. At the moment, I am very wary of putting my mobile number down on any untrusted mailing list for fear of spam & unwanted calls, but if I had the confidence that I could consign the number to the great spam repository in the sky, I'd use that rather than my fixed-line.

One last point - it's another one in the eye for those Luddites who insist we'll only have one device / number / bill / identity. Not only are you wrong, you're getting more wrong by the day.


nick said...

Hi Dean,

Some of the local/regional operator in Asia (South East Asia) have offered similar service.

Basically a subscriber has 1 SIM card where multiple mobile numbers (msisdn) can ba assigned to it. A subscriber can also choose which number to call out with. SMS to either number works. So, its preety seamless to the subscriber. There's a small monthly fee for the service.

I'm not sure about the take up but it doesn't seem to be very popular. Maybe it has to do with how the service is marketed and positioned.

Chris S said...

A company called Magrathea (http://www.magrathea-telecom.co.uk) seems to provide a similar service called call safe in the UK:


Of course the 0871 and 070 numbers they provide are more costly for the caller, but obtaining a number is free for those that want one. This will provide the added value that only those that really want to talk to you will call.