back to article Skype faces 020 7870 cut-off

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 …

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Paris Hilton

oh dear

This might be an unpopular comment, but what sort of a business would print skype numbers on business cards and marketing material? Surely no serious business would rely on a free service to provide important business communications?

Thats like saying on your corporate website "Want to get in touch? Come and find us on facebook" instead of providing an email address.

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Paris Hilton

meh

From the message board

".I've just had to pulp a mailshot to 3,000 people" I bet those 3,000 people will be really p1ssed that they wont be getting the crap you are sending them.

Also it makes me laugh at how many people use skype for business purposes and complain about the quality.

I mean i'm in India and manage to call the UK most weekends, though the quality isnt all its cracked up to be, mostly due to my internet connection, but even when its top notch some times just saying "all i want is a sodding beefburger" gets mangled.

So soley relying on it for a business is just retarded, yeah I wanna order four of whatever crap you are selling, 400,000? OK! :D, oh and then follows the ofcom complaints, LOL, people need to get real.

I wonder if Paris Hilton is having these woes too there is no mention of it! Journalism at its poorest i'm afraid guys :(

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Alert

In my experience...

... tin cans and string provide much better call quality than Skype half the time.

As for having to pulp business cards & mail-shots, anyone relying on skype for essential business communications must be nuts - surely they're just trying to blag some extra compo from skype?

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Get what you pay for

When do people realise you only get what you pay for? At the end of the day Skype offers cheap international calls and for this there have to be some downsides. Any business relying on a Skype phone number or putting it on their literature needs their head examined.

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Alert

Thats why ...

... you should never use a 3rd rate VoIP provider. Using Skype as a business tool is foolish. Okay, it saves money, but there are other and perhaps better VoIP providers out there.

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operator this is Mars calling..operator?.

given last months' inexplicable disconnection of our 0208 number, which we have for overseas travel so our kids can reach us, I am far more suspicious of where Skype is getting numbers from.

there was NO apology, no notice no nothing from them. it was only when plsces like El Reg, mother Beeb and others were inundated with complaints did our 0208 numbers get mysteriously reconnected....

feh

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Pulping mailshot

Yes, let's be clever and use skype for a business line... which I assume is rather for your business if you end up pulping the lot. Because VoIP is so reliable at the moment.

Fools - the thing I don't get (unless they're doing it over cable internet) is that they will have already got a phone line waiting to be used from BT - use that as business and the VoIP for home (if you're using the same premises/line for business and home).

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cor
Paris Hilton

Maybe I'm just a geek but...

... why would anyone in the UK "running a business" want to use Skype?

I mean, don't these people know about real VoIP/SIP services that are 24/7 and far more reliable, and don't leech your cpu & bandwith to peer services.

Yes, I may be missing something here, but I have been using Asterisk & VoIP to replace my 4 old expensive ISDN business lines for years now, and no complaints. I do have a very good ISP here in The Netherlands ( I won't spam the name, but they were the first public provider, and 'our relationship' began way back in 1993...).

I have had a few forays into Skype over time, but finally abandoned it due to the proprietary, yet leech-peer nature of the service.

My ISP's VoIP rates are lower than SkypeIn / Out and, just like Skype, I can communicate with other users (same ISP's network) for free.

Oh and using Linksys/Sipura 3000 boxes as FXO/ATAs I can call up the office using my mobile, and (with PIN) call through on VoIP. Costs me 3 pee a minute to call mobile to mobile from Holland to the US while driving home.

Skype can't do that.

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Unhappy

GCI Telecom Has Obviously Asked For £££ That Skype Don't Want To Pay

Looks to me that GCI Telecom may have asked skype for a wad of cash in return for allowing them continued use of GCI's 020 block.

Skype's not willing to cough up so the customer looses out (again).

All speculation of course...

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cor
Jobs Horns

Heh-heh I'm not the only geek in town... :)

Well, just after I posted and F5'ed I saw the first comments coming in.

Coincidence that nearly everyone had the same remarks? I think not, sir.

So who is part of the Skype-dependant-pulp-mailing demographic?

Go on. Put your hands up.

You know who you are.....

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Marvellous

I was going to post a comment saying "what kind of idiot would use Skype for business" but it seems that one, and all conceivable related variants I can think of, are already taken.

Happy Thanksgiving, have the rest of the week off.

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Why couldn't this happen to a business VoIP provider?

I totally agree with the views that you get what you pay for, but actually there is no reason why this couldn't happen to customers of the more expensive 'business class' hosted PBX VoIP services.

I think it's all a bit worrying when you have VoIP providers allocating out geographic numbers which aren't allocated to them directly by Ofcom/$Regulator. This is the case for the vast majority of hosted PBX VoIP providers I know, and all it would need is for the relationship to sour between the VoIP provider and Telco for this to happen all over again.

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Coat

Bad range...

...

I believe these are the range that allow withheld CLI through, meaning that they are in contravention of numerous CLI guidelines and government regulatory requirements.

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Stop

First Class Stamps

So - in addition to penny pinching by using Skype for a main business number to save say £10 a month (or not use their existing line) they are happy to pay 10p extra for a First rather than Second Class mailing i.e £300 on a single mailshot having spent the time to individually stick 3000 stamps on rather than pay £4.99 a month for SmartStamp and just print em all out at a touch of a button, and then binning £960 worth of stamps rather than getting a prit stick and guillotine and applying them to new envellopes which would undoubtedly cost less than £960. We figure 200 PH for a £6 PH type person i.e about £90 to salvag ethe stamps.

It's either completely incompetent or completely implausable. Either way - not much of a basis for a claim. I can't believe I just defended an ebay owned company.

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Unhappy

You get what you pay for.... NOT

The whole point of a SkypeIn number (biz or personal) is that I can take the number to any computer in the world... that's exactly how Skype are STILL marketing their service on their site.

That's what I've paid for and it's not what I'm getting.

The occasional outage and not being able to talk to customer support are part of the low price. Not getting the CORE essence of what I've paid for is just the biggest mistake Skype could make.

I used to live in London, I now live in Australia and a London number has been extremely handy for freelance work, family and friends. That's all completely upset by the fiasco of Skype not getting an agreement with their supplier but still happily pocketing my money.

I agree a premium service is probably the way forward for my freelance work but its a pity Skype have shot themselves in the foot over this.

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Stop

Many reasons to use Skype numbers...

Many businesses that need a set of distributed, international numbers that can all get forwarded to one place use SkypeIn to do it relatively cheaply. This is especially useful for small businesses that want a local contact number to show an office front in a country, but either have no staff in that country, or a limited presence. Lots of consultants, financial advisors, small speciality manufacturing businesses etc. are users of SkypeIn for this. We live in a virtual global economy, but sometimes clients will only consider you if you if you appear to be local...

Also, SkypeIn is VERY useful if you have moved or are working overseas, and wish to have a local number in your previous country to forward calls to (say for your old mobile telephone number). The quality isn't great, but at least you have an ability to get the calls, and you can always call them back from a landline.

Y'all are just too busy thinking in the box about the way the world used to be...people are mobile now, and we want numbers that are not tied to our geographic presence. SkypeIn is one of the few ways to accomplish this relatively cheaply.

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Alert

Alternative numbers?

For those that use them for business and other use, wht anot get yourself an Non-geographic number (03,08) etc and point that to the number. Then now matter how many times the number changes, it makes no difference, you just redirect.

That's why proper businesses use them.

Stu..

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Stop

SkypeIn - email

All your people saying a business should not be using a SkypeIN number should they not be using email too?

At the end of the day Skype offered a service a phone number which could be used anywhere in the world, if you could get on the net you can recieve your calls to this number,maybe sitting on the beach half way around the world, as for the customer they was calling your inner London landline (0207) number and didn't need to know you was on the beach.

So should we dump email and go back to using the carrier pigeon? (yes it will probably be more reliable than Royal Mail)

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Sorry for being a Telco bore but....

... this will probably relate to the Ofcom regulations of 'National Dialling Only' numbers. http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/Oftel/publications/numbering/2003/ntnp_final_c0703.pdf Ref: Page: 15 Section: 'National-Dialling-Only' Numbers

This means that these numbers cannot be used in an area where they may be advertised :)

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Stop

free?

SkypeIn is definitely NOT free

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cor
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@ BeMaD

A (very quick) Google led me to a random UK site that offers PSTN to VoIP, and local VoIP numbers in the UK.

Probably your best bet. Was about £1.99 (once-off) for the number & £9.99 /month flat rate.

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cor
Coat

@ Robert Hill & @Anonymous Coward

Hi Robert. Skype is just an implementation of something much bigger called VoIP. But Skype does not adhere to international telecom standards, (SIP for example) making it impossible to use it in conjunction with proper equipment.

"Y'all are just too busy thinking in the box about the way the world used to be...people are mobile now, and we want numbers that are not tied to our geographic presence. SkypeIn is one of the few ways to accomplish this relatively cheaply."

Sorry, but £1.99 for a UK number is not expensive. See my other posts.

___

Mr. Anon:

"So should we dump email and go back to using the carrier pigeon?"

What people are talking about is not dumping VoIP, but dumping Skype.

Skype is a toy for people who don't need to rely on VoIP, but like the idea that they too are in the 21st century.

Long before Skype started its (peer to peer) service companies were offering VoIP to businesses. Nowadays this service is so affordable that anyone can choose it over the old fashioned alternatives. Skype, despite it's volumetric "successes", is a dinosaur in terms of technical future and business viability.

It's just people who don't know about real VoIP who think that Skype is something 'new'. It's like when new PC users got excited about RAID under Windows, and came bouncing along to the server geekclub to tell everyone... (Sorry).

I'll go before this turns into a rant.... ;))

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IT Angle

Cor - More info please

Cor, Thanks for info... Well problem is I have been using Skypein since 2005 and everyone knows my number now. I have had no problems with the service apart from when everyone had the blackout a couple of months ago.

So can I get a service like SkypeIN which gives me the following.

A landline number like 0207-870-XXXX some software on my PC which allows me to accept calls on this number.

I no on longer have a fixed (landline Number) as I move around and could be in the UK for 4 mths then in Europe for 3 mths and USA for the rest of the time and that's why the SkypeIN system worked so well for me.

As they say if its not broken don't fix it.... But this time is my rear taking a beating from Skype and I will be dropping them ASAP.

If so can you supply a URL of such service.

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cor
Happy

Where to find voip numbers for the UK, Eu etc..

Well I don't think that El Reg would be very pleased if I should dump a load of URLs here for commercial services, so I will just give you the query I used on Google to find a few.

BTW : I am not involved in any telcos, I am just an IT guy on contract here and there, so my interest is purely personal/hobby. :)

"voip uk" gives you a bundle of providers

"voip freeware" gives you freeware to operate SIP calls via the PC.

- I can't really recommend a particular package 'cos I use Linux exclusively, and my Voip system runs over Asterisk. This is an Open Source PBX, but you don't need to be a Linux geek to use it. If you can sacrifice an old Pentium 75 with a soundcard, you've got a full system (without PSTN) that takes voicemail, DTMF menus, call forwarding....

just google it, you'll see.

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Happy

RE: Cor - More info please

I think Vonage (www.vonage.co.uk) would meet your requirements. I use them myself, I have a geographical UK number, plus a Montreal (Quebec, Canada) number. They provide a PC client, plus the option of a WiFi phone.

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Boffin

Boo hoo

Look, Skype is not something that any intelligent person would use for anything serious. Let alone running a business.

Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of VoIP -- my boss converted our office to Asterisk before it hit 1.0, and I have even got my own PABX patched through work's one. What I don't like is secret protocols. They undermine the whole point of telephony, which is that it should be universal and not tied to a single provider.

Imagine if you could only use your mobile phone to talk to people on the same network. Imagine if your electricity company would not tell you (and actually tried to forbid you, on pain of disconnection and worse, to attempt to measure) the voltage or frequency they supplied, and forced you to buy appliances -- which would not be compatible with any other electricity company's power points -- from them. Imagine if your car only worked with one brand of petrol, or your stereo only played CDs from one particular record label.

It simply doesn't work.

I hope now people will realise just how terrible Skype really is. (On the other hand, "skype" headsets will work just fine with other software telephone applications, so at least they're good for something.)

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Thumb Down

Skype is a typical Ebay business

I have the impression, that many people haven't reaslised yet, that skype belongs to ebay and therefore the the quality of their service is directly comparable!

charge for everything and deliver hardly anything! paypal is just as bad.

This fiasco has shown it again, bit I think people are just too dumb to notice this!

When you buy a moblile, most sensible people first shop around a bit and then take the best offer they can get but this doesn't seem to apply with this service.

there are so many VoIP providers, that will give you more for less! sipgate, voipcheap.co.uk and many others.

open standards, free UK numbers, dirt cheap rates, brilliant features, and then people go for some rubbish like skype, which just cons it's customers, (like all ebay companies do), closed source, crap service, etc...

start thinking folks.

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Heart

Pressure from mobile networks.

The reason for the numbers being removed is probably due to pressure from mobile networks on OFCOM to do something to prevent abuse. Many mobile networks allow you to call 0207/8 numbers free from your allowance. This has seen a rise in companys which offer calling cards to call abroad using said numbers to forward calls to other countries at a profit.

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Flame

What is wrong with you people?

I am one of these "stupid people" that you are talking about. The reason why I chose Skype is because I am self employed and don't have much spare money to spend on things like diverting calls from a BT landline to a mobile. The hole concept of SypeIn seemed great, I can answer my calls on my laptop anywhere where I can get an internet connection and my customers won't know that I'm sat in my car or wherever. Also, if I am unable to take the call then my wife at home can pick it up. The other good thing was that I could chose a nice memorable number. Most of you people don't seem to understand that self employed people and small businesses will be the kind of people that loose out here, obviously big companies won't be using Skype. How you people can think it's acceptable for Skype to allocate numbers and then give not even a months notice that numbers will be withdrawn is beyond me. I bet if you got an email from Hotmail saying that they are going to change your email address in less than a months time you would be far from happy! It's easy to sit there saying how stupid people are but why not put yourself in our shoes? I think it's very odd that most of the comments are saying how stupid people like myself are, it makes me think they are all posted by the same person as every other blog and forum that has been discussing this has had a completely different consensus!

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Go

... and the telco bosses all look around very smugly

No good news for anyone in this. I looked around for voip alternative to our trad. phone system recently but it doesn't seem to be as issue free as others have made out.... still looking though.

I'm also looking for a geographic number provider to provide an alternative for our 0845 number so that I can divert it to an office phone but keep the same local number in case we move premises.

I don't mind paying a reasonable flat rate but don't like the idea of an unknown bill if we have to pay for calls IN.

Any suggestions for reputable providers in the UK?

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Skype pretty good actually

On the good side:

I run Skype numbers in New York, LA, Tokyo and London so that I can deal with companies who don't trust their employees enough to let them dial international phone numbers. I've had less problems with call quality on Skype than I have with my normal BT line and I frequently use it for video calls as well. This applies even when using my laptop from wifi on the beach in Barbados or ski resorts. It does what I want basically.

On the bad side:

The number change is a huge marketing and management failure by Skype. Any telecoms contract worth its salt would have terms to ensure that the telecoms company can't just recall your phone numbers on a whim or increase the price more than a reasonable amount. I would have thought local number portability would also allow them to just take the number to another supplier.

It would be interesting to know the real reason for this change.

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Anonymous Coward

It affects 020 7871 as well

It's not just 020 7870. I have the same problem for 020 7871

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Anonymous Coward

Profit by stealth -- Skype ate my credit

Who wants to have anything to do with a company that eats your dial out credit without giving you even a simple email warning it's about to expire, and then ignores any attempt to discuss it?

May they rot in hell.

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Anonymous Coward

Skype - are the parasitic?

Most decent companies won't touch Skype with a barge-pole as they whole system seems to be parasitic in nature. The first problem is they aren't a real telecoms company. A real telecoms company like BT doesn't use my PC to route calls to other subscribers or choke my bandwidth with calls I didn't originate. Skype marketing puff tries to pass this kind of bullshit "Skype doesn't require a complex and costly centralized infrastructure" as being a gain when it's anything but true; if you added up all the network connections and peer-nodes that have to be maintained it is a horrendously complex network that simply externalises its costs to the user because people think things they've already paid for are "free" like the cost of your computer, broadband, etc. As far as I can see Skype is really just freeloading off everyone else's resources as well as offering absolutely pointless services (Andy: "using my laptop from wifi on the beach in Barbados or ski resorts" -- I have never heard such ridiculous bullshit in my life).

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@ Anonymous

>>> I am one of these "stupid people" that you are talking about. The reason why I chose Skype is because I am self employed and don't have much spare money to spend on things like diverting calls from a BT landline to a mobile. The hole concept of SypeIn seemed great, I can answer my calls on my laptop anywhere where I can get an internet connection and my customers won't know that I'm sat in my car or wherever.

Which coincidentally is just what 'proper' VoIP does but without the restrictions. With standards based VoIP you can use whatever you want as a terminal (and there's a hell of a selection), not the limited selection approved by Skype. You can easily call other VoIP users without paying dialed called rates. You can do all sorts of things.

And guess what, they aren't expensive either !

Want a bit more than just a phone service ? Find an old PC, install Trixbox (Asterisk with a GUI front end), and you've got a full PBX with all the features you used to have to spend 10s of thousands of pounds for.

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Transfer your SkypeIn number to a new provider....

Ofcom states that anyone wanting to port their number to a new provider must be allowed, BY LAW! So it looks like that is the answer, you can transfer your number to BT or another VoIP provider. Everyone on the Skype forums are talking about transferring to a company called Voipfone, apparently they are offering to transfer the number for £10 (usually £20) plus VAT, there is then a £2 a month charge for line rental. I guess that is what I will have to do. Bye bye Skype!

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Happy

Reply-to: Cor

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

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Black Helicopters

VoIP

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.

http://www.voipbusterpro.com/en

http://www.sipgate.co.uk

http://www.orbtalk.co.uk

http://www.voiptalk.org/reallyvoip

http://www.draytel.org

http://www.voipfone.co.uk

http://www.voip.co.uk

http://www.coms.com/

http://www.gradwell.com/voip

A few listed at: http://www.myvoipprovider.com/Directory/VoIP_Provider_Directory/VoIP_Providers/UK_-_VoIP_Providers/page1/

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Anonymous Coward

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.

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