Thursday, November 30, 2006

VOIP#2 - Phone number portability VOIP#2 - Phone number portability

Awhile back, phone numbers were supposedly made portable, so that you can keep your phone number as you change from one carrier to another. This is esp. important will cell phone numbers, since many switch at the end of their contracts to other carriers. So, that is the theory.

Well, it is supposed to work with VOIP too. Vonage provides a mechanism for their customers to request that their phone numbers be transferred to Vonage. Unfortunately, it didn't go as well as expected.
  • When I initially set up my Vonage account, I used my existing cell phone number as my account number, and immediately requested that it be transferred to Vonage for my use.

  • But then, a week or so later, Qwest, my cell (and land line) carrier rejected the request because of a mismatched SS#. It turns out that my SS# at Qwest was stored with the first five digits as 9's at my request years before.

  • So, I provided Vonage with the Qwest version of my SS#, and tried again.

  • This time, it was rejected for other mismatch reasons. Ditto for a third try.

  • So, I went to Qwest, thinking that the problem might be that they might not be able to transfer an active cell number, and switched it to a CO number. Unfortunately, at that point, they informed me that I had lost control of the number, because they had sold their cell system to Sprint a couple of years before, and Sprint owned it.

  • So, I gave up. I have been giving out the "temporary" AZ Vonage number for the last month now for use as my primary phone number.

  • Then, yesterday, about a month after anything had happened in this area, I get two emails from Vonage. The first informed me that the number transfer was going through, and the second, shortly thereafter, that it had completed.

  • So, finally, about six weeks after starting this process, I have my old cell number back, now as my primary phone number. Unfortunately, everyone using my new AZ number must now be told to switch back.
I intend to now start the process of switching my primary land line number to Vonage. Currently, that phone line has two numbers, the primary number and a custom ring number I use for FAXes. My plan is to first switch those around, and then hopefully it will be easier to move a custom ring number to Vonage than a primary telephone number.

What I haven't figured out though yet is whether Qwest was intentionally slowing down the process in order to keep me as a customer (which I still am), or because they are just inept (they are one of the RBOCs), or whether it was because of the sale of their cell system to Sprint. We shall see with the land line number transfer


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