I switched from my local phone service to Vonage in January. I am completely happy with the service and have had no problem with it. I was able to keep my number and the transfer took only 20 days. I recommended the service to my dad and he switched. He had a lot of problems with the number transfer.
He had AT&T for both local and long distance. I don't have the exact dates so I will make them up. On day 22 of his service his phone jacks went dead and he was informed via email that the switchover of his phone number to Vonage had taken place. The problem is/was that if anyone outside of Vonage called him, they would get the message that the phone number was disconnected. Since I am on Vonage, I was able to call him with his original phone number. The number was (856) 23X-XXX. This persisted for 18 days. I suspect the problem is not with Vonage but with the entity that manages the North American databases. Can someone explain to me what the technical process is for switching over and what may have happened?
P.S. This is my first post to the Telecom digest in a decade. Hi Pat, I'm glad that you are still moderating this forum. BTW, you might remember me as firstname.lastname@example.org[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I sure do remember you, Dennis! While you were around here before in the early/middle 1990's you started a mailing list of your own on computer privacy. I remember helping you get it started. (_BIG_ hug!) What have you been doing with yourself since 1994-95? Whatever happened with your computer privacy mailing list? And yes, I am still around, as thick-skinned as ever, maybe even more radical than before. I know some of these guys will be _so happy_ to see me die or otherwise retire; they'll be able to get back to business as usual. In the meantime, yeah I am still here, and please don't stay away for another decade (another big hug!) ...
But let's get on to your questions today: AT&T is not, never was a _local_ telco or operating company. They got into the business of local service doing like Prairie Stream, Gage, and several other companies; they broker or lease all the equipment -- a UNI-P sort of deal -- from whomever the 'carrier of record' is in your area. For me here in southeast Kansas it is of course Southwestern Bell. So when your father tried to 'port' his number over to Vonage, he had to go through an extra step: He told AT&T (as a local carrier in this instance) what he wanted; _they_ in turn had to tell the 'true' telco in your area (SBC, I assume; they are gradually gobbling up the entire world). In the Chinese telephone of him telling AT&T and AT&T telling the local telco, I suspect someone 'misunderstod' what was wanted. Assuming you were with a 'local carrier of record' all along, that extra step of the UNI-P CLEC telling the ILEC what was wanted was eliminated. Your father had it happen though.
You said 'his phone jacks went dead ...' (but apparently the telephone adapter of Vonage continued to work). I suspect that your 'local ILEC bozos of record' either accidentally on on purpose failed to send (yet further) notice on this to the administrators of the records and tables for the North American Numbering Plan. To all the telephone central offices of the world, when they loaded the tables with the revised information, father no longer existed because ILEC showed it as a disconnect rather than a transfer. When telephone users attempted to reach your father, _their_ central office looked in its tables and and said he no longer existed. How did you find out the problem? You may have tried from your bozo-co landline (if you still have one) and got the not in service message, then you tried from your Vonage line and got through just fine.
I had that happen to me once. I tried at my office (using our default carrier, Illinois Bozo-co) to reach a number in a small town in northern Wisconsin. I got intercepted repeatedly. Then I tried it again, but dialing 10222 first (MCI) and got through okay. Ditto Sprint. The lady I spoke to in the Wisconsin town told me that 'often times my friends in the Chicago area cannot reach me'; she did not know why. I chatted with one of Bozo's service reps; she said she thought she knew the problem, but would have someone call me back a bit later. In about 30 minutes, I got a call from a guy who works for AT&T who was in Denver, CO. I told him about the various reps who had been unwilling to listen to me or help. He said he knew about those things (either missing table entries or typographical errors in the tables which get sent out to all the central offices) and "they will listen to me, they will do as I say; try again after about 2 AM tomorrow morning when the new tables get downloaded; it will get corrected." I did _not_ get up at 2 AM to test it (after all, I am no longer a kid who lays awake all night to play with my [or other guy's] phones), but when I did try it the next day, yes, it worked just fine, on the various carriers as well as my default Illinois Bozo-Co.)
You said 'the problem persisted for 18 days' and I assume you mean that after 18 days everyone could get through once again, regardless of the bozo -- err -- carrier of record they chose to use. It definitly sounds to me like an error when the tables got downloaded (the night after your father was first notified that he had been ported to Vonage.)
Vonage (all VOIP carriers actually) would be doing the world a big favor by terminating an 800 number on their switch in their office) which people could use to get into the 'Vonage system' (or whichever VOIP) so people could make a call totally via Vonage to test these things out as needed. Remember when cell phones had two ways to reach 'roaming numbers'? You could try to dial direct into the number and hope to get through _or_ you could dial a number in the community where the person was roaming; the cellular switch assigned the user a 'temporary local number' for that purpose. Maybe they still do. Anyway Dennis, I hope this answered your question a little, and please don't wait another decade before you write again. Your freind, Patrick. PAT]