Skype's screw-up is the VOIP-world's gain

Skype may not be the flavour of the month (or year for that matter) at eBay, which lost a cool bill. on its purchase, but it’s not making any friends in London either. The VOIP service provider’s decision to cut the 0207 numbers used for SkypeIn by those who like the association with the [central] London 0207 phone code has hit about 10,000 users.

Skype (“We’re very sorry for the trouble and (perfectly justified) swearing that this has caused”) thought it could negotiate with GCI Telecom (the erstwhile intermediary supplier between the wholesaler Gamma Telecom and Skype), but, er… no it couldn’t – so it has had to offer new numbers to customers instead. As ZDNet quotes an Ovum analysts:

PSTN number blocks are owned by Ofcom and are clearly allocated to specific carriers. The use of a reseller meant there was an additional layer of contractual detail which has compromised the perpetuity of the PSTN numbers that SkypeIn customers are expecting. Skype has severely misjudged the value to its customers of PSTN numbers in this instance…. The only option for Skype customers who want to retain the London numbers is to port their VoIP service from Skype to another provider that directly resells Gamma Telecom’s call termination service.

So the bad news is good news for those lucky resellers with a relationship with Gamma, including Voipfone and Vonage who have been pimping their ability to transfer the numbers over like a couple of whores on the Old Kent Road (with an 0207 number stuck inside a phone box). Nice customer acquisition strategy.