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  • Luke Campbell

How Voicemail Works

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

There are a variety of ways to get data, minutes and texts for your mobile in New Zealand. The two most common subscription services in Aotearoa are Pay-monthly (contract) and Prepay plans. Pay-monthly, the generally more expensive option, is a contract phone plan that requires you to pay for your use at the end of each month. Whereas with a Prepay plan you add credit to your phone account before spending it on texts, data, minutes or bundles of all three. Prepay tends to be a lot more flexible and the preferred option for travellers and those on tight budgets.

Want to find out more about the types of services available in New Zealand, here’s just a few:

If you’re one of the roughly 50% of people who are on Prepay plans its common to be charged 20c every time you try to check your inbox, and if you don’t have credit, because why would you, it’ll cost you $10 (the standard minimum top up) to check your inbox. Having to spend $10 or $20 dollars just to check a voicemail that might be important is a problem for another article.

For the other half of the population checking your voicemail is generally free or comes out of your Pay-monthly subscription minutes.

Behind the scenes

Most voicemail systems use what’s called conditional call forwarding to send your missed calls to some kind of answering machine. From there they’re stored on one of your mobile service providers (MSPs) servers, which you’ll generally be able to access by a phone call. Once you’re phone is identified by your MSPs’ software they connect you with your voicemail inbox, and from there we all know the rest.

Why does it matter?

Using voicemail can be a slow and infuriating process especially if you rely on communication for your business or personal life. If you’re not convinced about the over complicated nature of voicemail, Spark’s Voicemail for Mobile Users Guide is a whole 8 pages long.

It's crazy that approximately 1 million people in New Zealand access their voicemail inbox at least once a week using systems that were designed more than forty years ago.

If you think any of the other providers are better, think again.

Alternatives to standard voicemail

There are a variety of companies working on a whole range of new and alternative solutions to the traditional voicemail systems. Some use VoIP for business applications like Voyager and others (like our team) who are working on solutions that use speech recognition technology to convert voicemails to text and automate other tasks.

If you liked this article check out the others on our website or try our app for free. You can download it via our website or just search Vxt on Google Play or the App Store.

Luke Campbell

Luke Campbell is a co-founder of Vxt, a smart assistant application which converts voicemail to text. Luke has previously been involved in the non-profit sector and currently sits on the board of a variety of organisations in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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