Telephony - Amazon Connect

Telephony

Amazon Connect provides a variety of choices to enable your company to make and receive telephone calls. One of the great advantages of Amazon Connect is AWS manages the telephony infrastructure for you: carrier connections, redundancy, and routing. And, it's designed to scale.

This topic explains the options that Amazon Connect provides for telephony, which helps you build a solution to meet your business requirements.

Telephony architecture

Amazon Connect provides capabilities to host both toll-free and direct dial numbers (DID) in all AWS Regions supported by Amazon Connect. You can use both types of numbers in a single instance. A complete list of supported countries/regions and costs, including the price differences between DID and toll-free numbers, is located on the Amazon Connect pricing page.

AWS manages the connectivity to our network of carriers providing diverse connections to multiple carriers in each region supported by Amazon Connect. When Amazon Connect is deployed in a Region, we take advantage of the built-in redundancy of the AWS Availability Zone design to provide multiple carrier interfaces into multiple data centers. You can see how AWS manages the design of a Region here.

In addition to the Amazon Connect service being spread across multiple Availability Zones, AWS also has multiple telephony providers. These providers have multiple links into the data centers in those Availability Zones. This ensures that if a single or even multiple links fail from a carrier, there are alternate routes available to ensure the service remains available.

Toll-free numbers

Toll-free numbers are telephone numbers with distinct prefix codes that can be dialed with no charge to the person placing the call. Such numbers allow callers to reach businesses and/or individuals out of the area without being charged a long-distance fee for the call.

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission provides rules for obtaining and using toll-free numbers. In other countries, similar governing bodies ensure that toll-free numbers are managed and distributed in accordance with local laws.

AWS manages toll-free numbers as a Responsible Organization, or “RespOrg.“ When you claim or port a number into Amazon Connect, we register that number with SOMOS. Once the number is registered, we are able to select multiple carriers to provide BOTH route and carrier redundancy. This provides the highest level of availability, ensuring the number will remain available even in the event of a complete carrier outage. This level of service does come at an additional cost, as toll-free numbers are a higher price than direct dial, but the service reliability and customer experience make this the most attractive option.

Direct-in-dial (DID) numbers

Direct inward dialing (DID), also called direct dial-in (DDI) in Europe, is a telecommunication service offered by telephone companies to subscribers. DID numbers provide a locally formatted telephone number that can match the dialing pattern of a local subscriber. For example, in Seattle, Washington, USA, the local dialing pattern is +1(206)-NXX-XXXX. The provider of the DID number would provide numbers with the +1(206) pattern to match local dialing.

In the United States, DID numbers are regulated by State Public Utilities commissions. DID numbers are managed by a single carrier. While they are portable, they can't be load balanced/managed across multiple carriers. This makes them less reliable than toll-free numbers.

DID numbers offer you the ability to present a local calling line identification when placing outbound calls, and a local presence to inbound callers. This can be very useful to increase the likelihood outbound and queued callback calls get answered by your customers. It can also show a customer that you are local to their area, and provide a cheaper inbound route than a long-distance call if you don't publish a toll-free number.

Because DID numbers are threaded to single carrier, Amazon Connect doesn't offer carrier redundancy for DID numbers. We do offer link redundancy across multiple Availability Zones, so in the event of a link failure that carrier still has facilities available in another location to deliver calls. DID numbers also have a capacity limitation on how many calls a single number can accommodate, and this number does vary by Region. It is important to work with your AWS account team to ensure you are properly enabled with the right type of DID numbers if you plan on using DID numbers as your primary inbound channel, and have an expectation of over 100 concurrent calls per number.

DID numbers are less expensive than toll-free numbers, but don't have the redundancy and broad geographical coverage of a toll-free number. The ability to localize numbers may be an attractive option for your business.

Claiming numbers in Amazon Connect

Amazon Connect provides you the ability to claim both direct dial and toll-free numbers in supported countries from inventories maintained by AWS. To claim a number, log into your Amazon Connect instance and select Phone numbers. For instructions, see Claim a phone number in your country.

Porting numbers

Porting of numbers refers to the ability to move an existing telephone number from one carrier to another provided you are the "customer-of-record." In the United States, portability is required and regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. Laws regarding the requirements for number portability vary greatly between countries/regions. In the United States and Canada, the process is regulated and well-defined. In other countries/regions, some have well-defined processes while some are dependent on carrier and geography.

If you are trying to port a number outside of the United States, follow the porting process we've documented, however, the timeline to complete may vary. If porting is not possible at all, AWS Support will let you know that it's not available.

To begin the porting process, you need to gather some documentation to enable the process to run smoothly. AWS support will need a copy of your bill showing the current carrier, number(s) to port, and the company name. Feel free to redact any pricing or company information you feel is proprietary. You will also need to provide your Amazon Connect instance ID.

For detailed porting instructions, see Port your current phone number.

Use cases for different configurations

Starting fresh with Amazon Connect

In this case, simply select new numbers using the claim a number process. For instructions, see Claim a phone number in your country.

Migrating to Amazon Connect from another provider/platform

If you're migrating to Amazon Connect from other platform, we recommend starting with a proof of concept, and migrating to Amazon Connect over time.

  • A best practice is to forward your existing numbers to a new number (or numbers) claimed in Amazon Connect until you are fully converted.

  • Once fully converted, use the porting process to bring your numbers into Amazon Connect.

  • This gives you a fallback in case you have migration issues.

Maintaining two separate platforms

In some cases, you may have more than one Contact Center platform requiring telephony. Here's an overview of how to configure this:

  • Choose which platform is the initial call-handling service, and forward to the other platform.

  • If Amazon Connect is the primary call handling platform, you can port or claim numbers. You will design your contact flows to transfer calls to the other platform on a telephone number you will provide in the contact flow.

  • If the external platform is the primary call handler, you will need to configure that platform to forward calls to a number you claim in Amazon Connect. Choose either a toll-free number, which will give you better redundancy and capacity at an increased cost, or a bank of DID numbers to terminate the call into Amazon Connect.

  • For the use case, we recommend that you engage AWS Solution Architecture support to ensure your contact center is well-architected to achieve the best possible outcomes.