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  1. #1
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    AT&T Disabled my Business Phone as Punishment for switching to VOIP
    I'm angry yet strangely unconcerned about AT&T's unethical decision to disable my telephone number for a week before permitting me to port the number to a VOIP carrier (voice-over-IP or "internet phone service"). Callers hear a message that "calls are not being accepted at this time, please call again later" (which we all know usually means, "service was suspended for non-payment").

    I won't be able to receive calls to my phone number until next Wednesday, at the earliest.

    http://markwelchblog.com/2010/08/12/...r-portability/

    I considered posting my home phone number on my web site for prospective clients to reach me, but then I decided to just take the week as a "vacation from first-time phone calls" (or maybe I should call it a "staycation").

    I'm still available via email, and of course I can use my home phone.
    Last edited by markwelch; August 13th, 2010 at 01:56 PM.

  2. #2
    Full Member JCSupSvc's Avatar
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    You could use Google Voice and have it sent to your home phone. Put that number on your website.
    :rankn-scp John - This is our chosen profession. This is our way. This is what we do.

  3. #3
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Mark, Would you care to say what VOIP provider that you picked?


  4. #4
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    Neither Google Voice nor Skype could port existing phone numbers, and the entire purpose of this was to retain the phone number that I've had for the last 17 years.

    For all the praise I've heard about VOIP, I definitely was unimpressed with the lack of useful information and the limited choices actually available; basically, if you wanted full service with unlimited USA calling, you'll either pay $26 a month to Vonage (but Vonage won't allow SIP (WiFi phones or softphone access), other than their custom software version for an extra $10 per month), or else you'll pay $20 per month to any other company; there is no meaningful price competition in this industry. (Vonage and most of its "unlimited calling" competitors demanded a one-year commitment, which I'm not making for an unproven service.) I actually didn't care about outbound calling at all, since we already pay for two unlimited lines.

    (The worst-case alternative would have been to have AT&T set up the number as a "remote call forwarding" number, which would ring to our home phone with me paying about $15 per month plus a per-minute charge for all calls.)

    I spent way too much time shopping for a VOIP provider, and found lots of scammy little companies (including some that pretended to be big, but really aren't). Eventually, I was frustrated because there was really no rational way to make this decision (all the companies seem to be bottom-feeders), and I just needed to end the shopping process. I chose CallCentric's "Office Unlimited" plan ($8.95 for unlimited incoming calls), but I'm still waiting to see if that that was a wise decision.
    Last edited by markwelch; August 13th, 2010 at 10:11 PM.

  5. #5
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    Porting a phone number is like switching a domain to a new host. It takes time for DNS servers to update

    The sad thing with porting a number is once you request the port the service is canceled imediately from where you are porting from. Unlike updating a domain to a new server you can keep the old server just incase. So at&t realy didn't punish you, they just treated you like they and every other provider treats their departing customers.

    I would say your VoIP provider is lame because I have never had a port take more than 24 hours. Most happen in 30 minutes. Longest port I had was from Verizon to Cablevision 13 hours.

    Also keep in mind that for weeks and maybe even months until all phone number databaes at the companies that offer phone service too are updated some potental customers may or may not beable to reach you. Again its just like DNS servers some update quickly others takes days

    A lot of people don't realize that when they port a number. I ported a number several months ago from tmobile to at&t my sister who is on tmobile still gets free m2m calls to me even though the number was ported a long time ago tmobile still hasnt updated their systems. It also took at&t 2 months to recognize my number was on their network as my cousin who would call me would have to call at&t to reclaim used minutes so that they could be added to her rollover minutes.

    As someone suggested but I do not think you understood. I would post your Google Voice number to your webpage and have it forward to your home phone in the meantime.
    Last edited by HardwareGeek; August 14th, 2010 at 11:34 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardwareGeek View Post
    > * * * The sad thing with porting a number is once you request the port the service is canceled immediately from where you are porting from. Unlike updating a domain to a new server you can keep the old server just in case. So AT&T really didn't punish you, they just treated you like they and every other provider treats their departing customers. // I would say your VoIP provider is lame because I have never had a port take more than 24 hours. * * * <
    Everyone (including AT&T) told me that the norm is that existing service continues during the porting process, and ends only on the official "porting date."

    On the other end, my understanding is that it would be illegal for the new company to establish service on the number prior to the first company's official porting date. The new company has absolutely said that they cannot and will not establish the new service until the porting date that AT&T designated.

    You're the very first person to ever suggest that the new company is at fault. You're telling me that my understanding is wrong, and you might be right. But every VOIP company told me that I should expect the porting process to take 2-4 weeks, and that I needed to maintain the prior service until the porting was complete.

    Just to clarify: CableVision and Comcast aren't typical VOIP companies -- they are huge companies which have probably negotiated the same accelerated-porting procedures that the cell-phone carriers have agreed upon. They also have pricing schedules that effectively mandate bundling of multiple services.

    We currently have Comcast voice service, but they allow a maximum of only two lines, each at the full rate [$20 per month, only for the first six months, only when included as part of a bundle] -- and they don't allow SIP or softphones.
    Last edited by markwelch; August 15th, 2010 at 05:40 PM.

  7. #7
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    FYI: My phone service was enabled on the new phone carrier yesterday, and I've now configured my voice-mail. I'm still experimenting with "softphone" clients on the PC and on my iPhone, but my current setup seems to work OK.

    My "staycation from new-prospect phone calls" has ended.

  8. #8
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    Just want to comment that I also did ported my number for free to Onesuite and my number was dead also for a couple of days so I guess its norm to have a dead phone but 1 week is too much I guess.

    Vonage has a lot of good competitors. Most of these competitors has prepaid plans, meaning no allotted monthly minutes and not unlimited either. It's pay as you go and you can save between $10 - $15 monthly depending on how many times you make outgoing call.

    For example, Onesuite's VoIP service is only $2.95/month with unlimited incoming calls. So if you don't make any outgoing calls, you only pay $2.95/monthly. You mentioned you hardly need to make outgoing call in your VoIP so I think a prepaid service is your best bet.
    Last edited by thomasv; November 10th, 2010 at 01:51 AM.

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