Take your phone number - with an 08 prefix - with you wherever you go for the rest of your life. That's the promise from Powercall Technologies, an Auckland-based computer telephony integrator that plans to sidestep the number portability debate by selling its own portable service.
Powercall's Bloodhound 2000 is a Personal Number Service (PNS) which will track you from phone to phone, "so you only need to use one number for the rest of your life", says sales and marketing manager Greg Hunt.
He says that Powercall has applied to Telecom for the use of a range of numbers with an 08 prefix, "to give us a good choice of numbers for our customers. They're moving quite fast and we're expecting to hear from them in the next month."
Telecom's media communications manager Glen Sowry confirms that Telecom and Powercall are discussing a deal on the numbers, but says he can't comment on how long negotiations will take.
Bloodhound has been developed using a US product called Show N Tell from Brooktrout Technology. It can be routed through different phone numbers, including mobile phones, pagers and faxes. When it locates the right person it will announce who is calling and give the option of accepting, transferring or sending the calling to voicemail. Customers can use any phone and alert the Bloodhound Virtual Assistant of where they are. Faxes are stored until they can be downloaded at any fax machine.
While Powercall will run the Auckland server, it is looking for franchisees to take up the service in Wellington and Christchurch. "We'll provide the equipment - the server, voice boards and all the software and then its over the them to find business," says Hunt.
The service will cost $39.95 a month.