What do Britain’s World War I battle tactic describing an infantry emerging from the safety of their trenches to attack the enemy and a 1987 American sports drama film starring Sylvester Stallone as a long-haul truck driver and telecommunications have in common? All three share the same name! Over the Top (OTT) is not only the tactic and the movie, but a telecommunications service most of us use without realizing it. Although you may have heard the phrase, OTT, describe “added value” or “the act of surpassing a goal”, you might be unsure of how it applies to telecom, voice/video calls, or messaging.
Simply put, consumers access Over the Top services through internet-connected devices such as smartphones (including Android and iPhones) and applications such as Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, Messenger, etc. These applications use their own network/cloud to connect their users allowing them to communicate with each other.
A problem arises when the calling party (user making the call) attempts to make a voice call to someone outside of their network. At this moment, Inteliquent becomes a vital puzzle piece in the communication pipeline because as a provider, Inteliquent is able to exchange calls (aka transit voice traffic). When application users want to make calls that are not on-net (on the same network), calls are sent, directly or indirectly, to Inteliquent to connect to the called party (user receiving the call). Depending on the application, if there is a specific phone number assigned to the OTT app user, the call flow can reverse. In other words, if the app user has a specific phone number assigned using Inteliquent DID service, anyone from outside the network can call that number and Inteliquent will deliver the call to the OTT service provider.
Currently, just about every service (voice/video calls and messaging) is available over the open Internet or through an app. The expansion of Over the Top services provide great hope for users by taking advantage of services typically for free or for notably lower fees than the standard voice-minute plan.