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This could be wrong or could be right. I do not know, but what I have seen is that since the COVID-19 pandemic started, businesses have been struggling with how to get the income. Sadly, some indispensable businesses know their status and they have started to impose new fees. The telecommunication industry is no exception; since November 2020 at some point, carriers started to apply a short call policy with a fee. If the policy already existed and not enforced, I can't tell, but what I can is the charge. If you ask one of them why the charge, they will answer they try to stop dialers. Again, nobody can tell if this is the real reason.

Possible Scenarios

Fortunately, a short call definition for everybody is any answered call that is six or fewer seconds in length. When a call is terminated (outgoing call made), if the callee answers and the call is hung up before 6 seconds, the fee applies. There are two possible scenarios:

  1. the call is finished by the callee and
  2. the call is finished by the caller.

When the call is finished by the callee, there is not too much to do. Usually, this happens when a human answers and it is a wrong number, or a recording starts (diallers). Nothing we can do about this.

However, when the caller ends the call, we can still do something to force the outgoing call to be longer than six seconds. Take the following common scenario: you are trying to call your teenager, like any teenager, they won't answer the phone even if they have it in their hands. Instead, the call is routed to a voicemail. You hang up right away and you have a short call.

caller callee

My Solution: Force Calls to Be Longer than Six Seconds

Because the other end of the call is a voice mail (an IVR or auto-attendant), the only possible way this call can be finished is by the caller. So, what if we force the call to continue without the caller to be present. This way, this call would be more than six seconds.

moh callee

For FreeSWITCH or FusionPBX, follow these steps:

  1. Create a local dial plan that plays a sound. You can use the music on hold dial plan from FusionPBX (*9664). Clone it and make these changes:
    • change the destination_number to a new *code (something free). I usually use letters for this as this dial plan is not meant to be called by an endpoint directly. I will use the *long in this example.
    • before any pre_answer or answer action, insert a sched_hangup +10 NORMAL_CLEARING action.
  2. Edit your current outgoing route and add the following:
    • export nolocal:exec_after_bridge_app=transfer and export nolocal:exec_after_bridge_arg=*long

Dialplans look as follow:

<extension name="long" continue="false" uuid="916473cf-68e3-43d2-afeb-63e5fa86653d">
<condition field="destination_number" expression="^\*long$"/>
<condition field="${sip_has_crypto}" expression="^(AES_CM_128_HMAC_SHA1_32|AES_CM_128_HMAC_SHA1_80)$">
<action application="sched_hangup" data="+10 NORMAL_CLEARING"/>
<action application="answer" data=""/>
<action application="execute_extension" data="is_secure XML ${context}"/>
<action application="playback" data="${hold_music}"/>
<anti-action application="sched_hangup" data="+10 NORMAL_CLEARING"/>
<anti-action application="set" data="zrtp_secure_media=true"/>
<anti-action application="answer" data=""/> <anti-action application="playback" data="silence_stream://2000"/>
<anti-action application="execute_extension" data="is_zrtp_secure XML ${context}"/>
<anti-action application="playback" data="${hold_music}"/></condition>
</extension>

<extension name="lcr.1d10" continue="false" uuid="f6b2ee23-a656-4c13-9765-4502946d3d5c">
<condition field="destination_number" expression="^\+?1?(\d{10})$">
<action application="set" data="sip_h_X-accountcode=${accountcode}"/>
<action application="set" data="call_direction=outbound"/>
<action application="set" data="hangup_after_bridge=true"/>
<action application="set" data="effective_caller_id_name=${outbound_caller_id_name}"/>
<action application="set" data="effective_caller_id_number=${outbound_caller_id_number}" inline="true"/>
<action application="set" data="inherit_codec=true"/>
<action application="set" data="ignore_display_updates=true"/>
<action application="set" data="callee_id_number=$1"/>
<action application="set" data="continue_on_fail=true"/>
<action application="export" data="nolocal:exec_after_bridge_app=transfer"/>
<action application="export" data="nolocal:exec_after_bridge_arg=*long"/>
<action application="bridge" data="lcr/default/1$1"/>
</condition>
</extension>

Side Effects?

So far, I have found that you may have two calls in your CDR records. One as an outgoing call from your extension to the external number, and a second one as an outgoing call from the external number to the music extension (*long in my example).

That's it. The next time you call and hang up right away, the call will be scheduled to hang up in 10 seconds. Long enough to avoid the fee.

Good luck!

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