Lagos-based startup, Ghostmode, has launched a product that lets users make and receive calls while retaining anonymity and privacy — but not in anyway you would have thought.
Ghostmode generates a temporary (eight digit) phone number that can be used to make and receive calls. The application works by ‘mapping’ a temporary number onto the GSM number of users, hence, all incoming/outgoing calls are redirected to their native number which remains hidden.
Users log on to the Ghostmode’s website and enter few – hardly personal – details to register, and on completion, an eight-digit number is generated to be used, according to Ghostmode, within 24 hours.
“No need to purchase a new mobile device, or a SIM card. Ghost servers will automatically redirect all GhostMode calls to your current mobile number,” Ghostmode says.
As at the time of writing this, though, the temporary number I copped from the website don’t work as advertised. You can neither receive nor make calls using the numbers. I am also still trying to figure a use case for this product that is neither dodgy nor creepy.
Ghostmode – the startup – was founded by Ifeanyi Adirika and the webapp – the one that generates the numbers – was developed by Michael Osakede and Rodney Jackson Cole, ex-CTO at Tranzit/TaxiPixi, who left the taxi e-hailing startup last September to pursue further learning.
Does Ghostmode work with other telcos in Nigeria?
Presently, the Ghostmode number works with all mainstream telcos in Nigeria, with the one one-sided exception in Airtel, like Ifeanyi explained earlier.
Can GhostMode numbers work outside of Nigeria?
Not at this time. Ghostmode says those are still in the works, along with an enterprise version of the product.
How do you place calls using the GhostMode number?
Part of Ghostmode’s pitch was that you could make calls using the disposable numbers. That didn’t work in our experiment yesterday and it wasn’t just because we used an unsupported telco. The feature just hasn’t rolled out yet. Ghostmode told us earlier today that this feature will roll out in the next 48 hours. “Users need to dial an access number and input the destination number after that, this will mask the originating number and instead reveal your Ghostmode number. This access number will be available on the website within 48hrs”
How do you thrash a GhostMode number?
As of now, there is no option to thrash a Ghostmode number. It only just stops working after 24 hours like Ghostmode says on the packaging. It just disappears after the 24 hours –like a Ghost.
The Ghostmode number looks so cool, can you get a permanent Ghostmode number?
The lead UI developer on Ghostmode, Rodney Jackson-Cole says this is possible, but it’s not part of Ghostmode’s offering for now.
Can you redirect calls from your Ghostmode number to multiple numbers?
Not as of now. Rodney says this is possible and hints at the likelihood of adding this feature later. “This is very possible, but at the moment we don’t have that feature rolled out,” Rodney told us. It’s possible this will all be part of that enterprise version Ghostmode has in the works.
How much do you pay for Ghostmode?
The service is free, at least for now. Ifeanyi says the team at Ghostmode remain focused on building and expanding the product for now and isn’t looking at monetizing the product yet.
What’s the call Quality on Ghostmode numbers?
“GhostMode calls are entirely subject to network conditions when you make or receive calls,” Ifeanyi said, “For the second iteration, we will release an actual mobile app that you download on your phone to receive the GhostMode calls- this gives us better control of network conditions.”
What use cases are there for Ghostmode numbers?
Tons, it turns out, that are neither “dodgy nor creepy”. We unreservedly take that back. Thanks to TC commenters that called that posthaste.
The privacy a disposable number affords is useful when you need your contact out there but you don’t want it to remain out there. Perhaps, you don’t want overzealous hopefuls to continue badgering you with calls long after the modelling auditions are done (thanks Modella), this is just perfect. Or perhaps there is this sketchy guy who says he needs your number or he’ll die, disposable number to the rescue.