Dateltek – Telephone Number Portability

In 2007 Bjørn Birkedal phoned me. That was not in itself unexpected since we spend a lot of time in his basement in Faxe, Denmark, developing a system for our employer “Powerline”. Powerline was a small ISP that needed a system that could integrate with the National Number Portability facility “OCH”. All operators on the telecom marked was obliged to have their own de-central system to hold the entire number plan for all telephone numbers, Fixed as well as Mobile.

We managed to code this in PERL with a MySQL backend and the mathematical core was made using C – Yes, ANSI C as Dennis Ritchie & Brian Kernighan revised it to in 1988 – no fancy “plus-plus” was needed and we just used the hammer and screwdrivers we knew how to use.

Surprisingly enough, it actually worked flawless. I was not the fast coder in PERL so my role became the “System Designer” and we designed the entire system based on the integration documentation provided by OCH and a lot of bright ideas.

The reason he called, was that apparently the people at OCH “leaked” the information of our systems existence and a telco needed such a system.

So we had a product but no framework to sell this in. We decided to create a common company “Dateltek” and to commit full time on trying to fine tune the system – and of cause sell it.

We ended up with a totally reprogrammed system with the core still in C (I have learned that Bjørn now reprogrammed it in C++) and the entire frontend and middleware was written in PHP. No less than 30 Telecom actually bought this system – Lebara, LycaMobile and many others still use it to conquer new customers keeping their number while switching provider.

My vision became international. Bjørn did not share this vision so after presenting a solution to work in Serbia, Georgia, Nigeria, Kenya and other exotic countries, we decided to divide our efforts and split up.

Bjørn is still handling the Danish Telecom customers and after fighting in several years, I concluded that it was really difficult to enter the international marked as a small Danish provider. The amounts to be deposited in guarantees of implementation was in millions of dollars. I still hold all rights to use and sell this fantastic system but so far without success.

Onwards… – another phonecall, another job at ICOM who promised to join effort in selling my solution merged with their “MVNO in a box” solution internationally. That also never happened as the money ran out.