This is an extension to the “classic” PINless dialing service, in which the user is identified by his caller ID (ANI/CLI), maintains a balance in PortaSwitch, and is able to call any destination with charges applied to his balance. Traditionally, the registration for PINless dialing service is performed by the end user via the purchase of a top-up card and then calling the special IVR. When the user’s balance is low, he needs to buy more top-up cards or pay his bill online. Registration via SMS (simply send an SMS message to a certain number) is an easier alternative. A simplified registration process and further management of the account make this service especially convenient for users of mobile networks.
The service provider has two options for collecting funds from the end user:
- Send a request to the mobile operator that the end user is connected to for a balance transfer. This option must be supported by the mobile carrier – its advantage is that any “ordinary” number can be used by the customer for sending an SMS.
- Establish a premium number where the end user can send an SMS. Just like calls to premium numbers are charged differently than normal calls, messages to premium numbers are charged according to the higher rate (set by the service provider who owns the number). So for each message sent by the end user, the mobile carrier will collect the money from the end user and then pass it to you as the owner of the premium number.
To start using the service, the end user simply sends an SMS with the message SUBSCRIBE to the registration number. Upon receiving the message, the SMS processing module in PortaSwitch automatically provisions his account with the CLI/ANI of the mobile phone as the authentication ID; requests a balance transfer from the mobile operator and then adds these funds to the customer’s balance in PortaSwitch so they can be used again in the future. End user will receive an SMS that confirms the service activation and provides important service information, such as the number to call for PINless dialing or a username/password for accessing the web self-care. Once that occurs, the end user can start using the service by dialing the access number and then entering the final destination number. The entire registration process is very easy to perform and can be completed in just a few seconds.
PortaSwitch can also perform an automated balance top-up: when the balance of the created account goes below a specified threshold, the system initiates another balance transfer from the user’s balance on the mobile network. The telecom client can disable this automatic recharge by sending an SMS to the SMS access number with the message STOP.