In the fast-moving VoIP and telecoms industry, there are always plenty of interesting stories making the news each week. At SpectrumVoIP, we like to keep our ear to the ground and stay informed about the latest developments and market trends. This is the first in our series of our regular news roundups, where we share our insights with our clients, business partners and readers. Each month we’ll summarize the top voip news headlines that grabbed our attention over the previous few weeks. Below is our news roundup for July 2017.
On June 26, the US Federal Communications Commission reinstated its Customer Proprietary Network Information regulations for voice service providers. This follows a repeal by Congress of the FCC’s 2016 Privacy Order that extended the regulations to broadband Internet services. The move means VoIP and telecom providers must certify no later than March 1, 2018. Service providers are required to protect sensitive customer information such as numbers called, frequency and duration of calls, as well as services purchased by the consumer. Certification must include information on how the provider complies with the regulations, any actions the provider has taken action against data brokers, and a summary of complaints received from consumers over the past year. The reinstated CPNI regulations don’t extend to broadband Internet services, however such services are subject to Section 222 of the Communications Act.
Two men were arrested last month after a number of illegal Voice over IP exchanges were raided by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad in Latur, India. It appears the illicit exchanges were being used by Pakistani intelligence agencies for espionage purposes. According to authorities, the perpetrators Ravi Sabade (27) and Shankar Biradar (33) had configured the exchanges to route international VoIP calls via local mobile numbers, in order to gather information on the Indian military. Police confiscated computers, 96 SIM cards and various call-transformation devices from the pair, who had been running the illegal operation for over six months.
Telecoms failures have forced the Los Angeles Police Department to embark on an upgrade of its non-emergency phone services, including installation of VoIP at four stations at a cost of $640,000. The project will include over 1,000 VoIP handsets, as well as installation, configuration and staff training. The outages occurred in February this year and affected lines at the Devonshire, Van Nuys, Topanga and West Valley divisions, exposing significant issues with the organization’s telecommunications infrastructure, which currently supports more than 30,000 employees across 500 facilities.
Sprint has been delivering long-distance circuits to customers since 1900, however the US telecoms company last month made the strategic decision to retire its legacy voice platform. Traditional carriers are conceding defeat across the country, as sophisticated VoIP services increasingly make landlines obsolete. Sprint’s landline call revenue had more than halved from $5 billion in 2010 to $2 billion in 2016, and as profits in the traditional market shrink, it makes sense for providers to focus on growing IP-based technologies. Sprint observed that the majority of its business customers had already transitioned to VoIP, which offers more powerful features and stronger security at a lower cost. Sprint had originally requested permission from the FCC to discontinue its wireline long distance services in 2015.
As VoIP services are increasingly adopted across the globe, major security flaws are beginning to emerge with the 4G VoLTE (Voice over Long-Term Evolution) standard. Security agencies have reported that hackers can spoof or eavesdrop on 4G VoIP calls by using a super-user-enabled android device equipped with a 4G SIM card. In a demonstration by P1 Security, a Samsung Galaxy S6 could listen in on calls simply by interacting with the open SIP protocol. Hackers can also sniff SIP traffic and inject data into the call path, enabling them to place free calls or make calls that seem to originate from another number. As the market with the world’s highest density of VoLTE operators, the USA is especially vulnerable to this method of attack.
On June 19, hacker group CyberTeam claimed they were behind a recent Skype outage, boasting on Twitter with the message Skype down by CyberTeam. According to Gulf News, thousands of UAE residents reported that Skype phone services were unavailable. However the Microsoft-owned service responded to these claims by announcing that its connection issues were actually due to the service being blocked by local ISPs. The news came just days after users reported that WhatsApp video and phone functionality had unexpectedly started to work again, having previously been blocked since 2016. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority released a statement clarifying that there had been no change to the UAE’s VoIP policy, and that any services of this type must comply with the applicable regulatory framework.
Sprint has been ordered to pay $13.7 million plus interest to CenturyLink to settle a dispute over unpaid VoIP call termination fees. The US Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment in CenturyLink's favor, in a landmark case that has been closely scrutinized by the telecoms industry. The ruling sets an important precedent regarding how VoIP network connection charges should be handled. The case revolved around the correct form of compensation for carriers, after Sprint independently cut the rate it paid to CenturyLink for VoIP calls to seven cents per minute. Sprint claimed these calls should be treated as interstate rather than long distance because they involved VoIP, and should therefore attract local state tariffs only. CenturyLink challenged this interpretation of the regulations, bringing the matter before the Court.