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7/19/2007
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SunRocket Subscribers Find Alternative Service, But Number Porting Is Slow

Some subscribers complained that it's taking too long to port their old phone numbers to a new service, while others are suspicious that competing VoIP companies will fade out just like SunRocket did.

Three days after their telephone service was disconnected, many former SunRocket subscribers found alternate VoIP service providers welcoming them with open arms. But they were often faced with new problems.

Some subscribers complained that it will take too long to port their old phone number to a new service, while others were suspicious that plans offering long-term service would eventually fade out just like SunRocket's did early this week.

Late Wednesday, VoIP supplier 8x8 announced that it had agreed to present SunRocket's subscribers with a package to transition them to 8x8's service. Called Packet8, the package includes the waiver of startup costs along with a free month of service. The company said it would send SunRocket's some 200,000 subscribers an e-mail and voicemails to alert them to the offer.

In a statement touting 8x8's service, its chairman and CEO Bryan Martin said: "We have offered residential phone service over the Internet for nearly five years and are one of the only service providers that own all of the core technologies underlying our services, enabling us to also provide video services with our VoIP offerings and complete turnkey telecommunication services to more than 8,000 businesses."

With 181,000 customers, 8x8 is third in the rankings of independent VoIP providers behind Vonage's 2.4 million subscribers and SunRocket's 200,000 former users.

Many users were struggling with a delay in getting new service and in getting their SunRocket phone numbers ported to a new service.

"Why does it take so long to port a number?" Shira Goldberg, a former SunRocket user, asked. "I still have to wait up to three weeks for my phone to be back. Can you imagine the millions of dollars in lost revenue for small businesses that this will cost?"

Another established VoIP provider, Net2Phone, said Thursday that its VoiceLine service will be offered to SunRocket users. In a statement, Jim Courter, CEO of Net2Phone's IDT parent company, said: "We are prepared to offer service to those stranded by SunRocket's closure and to honor the customer contracts for up to 12 additional months."

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