Skype faces 020 7870 cut-off
Really, really, sorry
Updated: Up to 10,000 Skype customers have to change their SkypeIn number by 20 December, an email to customers advised last night.
By way of recompense, it also offered affected punters a year's free service with voicemail and a grovelling apology.
According to the email, Skype is having to "return some of the 0207 SkypeIn numbers" to their suppliers, though it makes no mention of why, or to whom, these numbers need to be returned.
It seems numbers starting "020 7870" are affected, which Ofcom shows are allocated to a company called Gamma Telecom. Skype leased these numbers from an intermediary called GCI Telecom, who tell us that they are still in negotiations with Skype regarding the numbers, and have promised us a fuller explanation real soon now.
Skype's message board is full of complaints from users about to lose their numbers, who have printed up business cards or even "...had to pulp a mailshot to 3,000 people, already stuffed, stamped, and ready to go, with first class stamps stuck on".
This adds to the firm's list of recent woes.
The failure of Skype to explain what went wrong, or provide any evidence that this won't happen again, hardly fills one with confidence - and while tin cans and string might not provide the same quality of connection as Skype's VoIP technology, it seems that system might be just as reliable. ®
GCI Telecom tells us that "negotiations broke down" between themselves and Skype, but anyone wanting to keep their number should mail them directly as they'll be happy to provide a VoIP, or forwarding, service.
Don't panic - Switch to Vonage
Any Skype customer who wants/needs to keep there number can do so by switching to Vonage. Their helpline number is 0808 178 9617.
Yes, Skype has always been a kids toy, a toy town service.
There's plenty of VoIP providers out there, some offering at no charge a local incoming number.
http://backsla.sh/betamax lists many of the Betamax services, offers slightly different rates and different free destinations. There is also a way of getting a local UK number for free and pointing at the service.
A few listed at: http://www.myvoipprovider.com/Directory/VoIP_Provider_Directory/VoIP_Providers/UK_-_VoIP_Providers/page1/
Thanks for the advice Cor, have been checking out the market myself. I've found a deal with Voipfone.
Their customer service is very professional, responsive and they have already started the porting process. In addition they have some fail-over redirection features that should mean the bane of SkypeIn, i.e. SkypeIn Out, is finally resolved.
Voipfone are offering a deal for ex-SkypeIn people more details will be at www.voipfone.co.uk/skype soon, in the meantime see our facebook group, for details... http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6056054935
And for those of you who sit in smug-judgement on this I suggest you check the fine print of your high price business VoIP contracts. It seems with the accelerating demand for 020 7 numbers the prices for these lines will just keep on moving up and you might find yourself either paying through the nose or in this boat too one-day :P