Now That SunRocket Is Gone, What Should You Do?

69 Comments

Now that we can stick the fork in SunRocket, many of their customers are wondering, what should they do in order to keep their phone numbers working. There are many things you can do, but one thing you can’t: sit on your butt and not do anything.

As one former SunRocket employee explains, saving your phone number is not that difficult, because the numbers are not residing with SunRocket, but with one of their service provider partners such as Broadwing and Qwest. All you have to do is print out SunRocket’s statement, and tell the company you want to switch to, why you are doing it and use the statement as a proof.

Basically take your number and port it to any service you think is going to be around for a while. From Vonage to AT&T to Comcast or T-Mobile: take a pick and switch ASAP. I would stay away from independent VoIP providers – you don’t want a repeat of the SunRocket story. Let us know if we can help – any questions – we can ask our friends in the VoIP industry and get you some answers.

69 Comments

Avery Glasser

Wow – I’m shocked. Not at the fact that SunRocket finally kicked the bucket, but at Om’s reaction.

Now, for the sake of full disclosure, I do work for an “Independent VoIP” provider. This is why I find the cry to “Stay Away from Independent VoIP Providers” a little shocking.

The problem isn’t that SunRocket was an Independent VoIP Provider, the problem was a losing business model.

Because SunRocket required users to have SunRocket hardware to access their network, it added a significant amount of overhead to their operations (hardware support, warehousing, pre-purchasing, customizing). Add in carrier fees such as DID number reservations as well as the normal business expenses and the margin is already very low.

Then we get to the whole “unlimited minutes” issue, which was the nail in the coffin. Bluntly, unless you have a sufficient number of customers so you can do real capacity analysis, the flat rate model is risky at best as the upstream carriers who handle the PSTN -> SIP gateways are charging per minute. If you’re off on your estimation of how much people will use the service, you can end up not just losing a little money, but bleeding dollars.

I would assume that SunRocket made some bad assumptions and ended up paying the price. Then again, the users who went to SunRocket were looking for that “Unbelievably Good deal” and you know what they say – if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Now, this isn’t to say that it’s impossible or even marginally difficult to build a sustainable business plan as a VoIP provider. Requiring specific hardware? Not a good idea – sure it’s easier for the client to set up, but a good instruction sheet and a list of supported (or just recommended) SIP Phones/Softphones reduces the overall overhead for the provider. Shifting from “unlimited” minutes to reasonable per-minute rates with bulk pre-purchasing discounts so you can truly understand your costs is critical as well.

Will it be as sexy of a service? No. It won’t get the sort of press that an unlimited service can provide. But it will create sustainable revenue and a path towards becoming cash positive. Then, instead of focusing on undercutting the competition by a dollar a month, focus on building innovative services and applications for your users.

A profitable VoIP provider with a robust set of apps? Call me crazy – but that’s the sort of sexy vendor that this industry needs.

Alex Goldman

There should be room for a VoIP service charging above market rates, promising to stay in business over the long term. For a while, that service has been Nuvio, but they’re offering a $199 per year contract too.

If they’d asked me, I would have recommended that they offer their service for $299 per year.

I have enjoyed covering the company’s legislative activism in the past as it fought for the rights of VoIP providers in DC.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=nuvio+site%3Afcc.gov

Nilam P.

i agree with Murali Dharan…if someone knows that who is taking over and we can even get partial refund back…i would never go anywhere else but Vonage for VOIP…

Murali Dharan

I used Sunrocket. It has been dead for the past 24 hours. I had them for over a year. I just paid $199 for a one year service. May be I will never get it back.

I like to know if somebody officially took over their accounts and at least make a partial refund.

Nilam P.

i have been sunrocket customer for last two years and i just talked on phone and boom the light is gone….i have prepaid for one year and i’ve already paid for another year…please help me out here for getting my money back…

Thanks…

Jacob

Dear All,

I am in the same boat as the rest of you guys. I used Surocket for almost 2 years and always had issues with them. I cannot beleive they just “did it and ran” but this teaches you that when you talk to a complete stranger on the other line who represents a company YOU CANNOT TRUST THEM AT ALL. They are parrots saying what they are being told to say. I am desperately working on getting my number ported and I think its finally getting through!
I used the original company who gave me the number and they were able to transport the number! It will take me about 8 days to get it, in the meanwhile I wet into my member account and forwarded all the calls to my cell phone, it works sometimes. I think its ridiculous that they can pull this kind of garbage and get away with it. I called the attorney general and he was of now help. I called the Federal Trade Comission and they were of no help. I called the better business bureau and they were of no help. Basically nobody wants your problems, you deal with it. Well all I gota say is, its a good thing its not a busy day at work or I would not have been able to be on the phone the entire morning dealing with this damn issue.

Ravneet

“Basically take your number and port it to any service you think is going to be around for a while. From Vonage to AT&T to Comcast or T-Mobile”

Om, When you say TMobile, do you mean the HotSpot@Home service? Am I missing something here?

JP

Bandwidth.com is available to help those business users looking for an alternate VoIP provider. You should be able to port your existing SunRocket number over to Bandwidth.com without loss of service.

http://www.bandwidth.com
800-808-5150

Dinesh

Interesting!!! Om is still making money out of that so called dead company. Anyone see Google showing Sunrocket’s ad on this blog?

Swami Chandra

My SunRocket connection is good so far till now. Fellow SunRocket’rs where and to whom are you switching to? Can you port your numbers along?

Cory

There are many “independent” providers of residential VoIP service out there who are quite solvient and stable. I believe that the cable co’s will continue to dominate the space in terms of overall # of subs, but I believe there is an opportunity in the marketplace for service providers to finally begin to distinguish themselves based upon user experience, as opposed to the simply having the lowest rates.

I don’t believe that voice services can trend to zero and be subsidized with adverts and other gimmicks.

Eric Atkins

I reported yesterday that my Sunrocket number was working. This morning, it is not. No dial tone and a red blinking light on my Gizmo.

They own me 18 months of unused service. What to do?

Surendra Kashyap

Interesting that SunRocket website still does not have any information on service shutdown. My phone for sure is dead ( I checked this morning again).

Sundarlal Chuddha

My SunRocket number is still working. I made many call this morning, and received one only. It seem that this may be perfect time to make many calls without cost only.

photoguy11579

I highly recommend Lingo as they’re backed by the 5th largest telecom company in the world. A buddy of mine works there and they’re going to be launching a big SunRocket related promotion later today. He said something about free activation, free shipping, etc. http://www.lingo.com

They’re backed by Primus, who’s been doing voip for like 10 years. They’re one of those big billion dollar companies..solid from what I’ve heard.

Good luck everyone!

Amit

Om, according to the NY Times, they are going to transfer their customers to some other company, is there any validity to that statement? I have only had them for 2 months and its not kosher for me to be out 199 for 2 lousy months. Is there anyway I can be reassured that I will be transferred to someone else or get my money back?

Thanks,
Amit

jake

What makes Vonage not an independent?

Why do you think that AT&T, for instance, will stay in this game?

Joseph

Anyone can steal someone else’s SunRocket number, now that SunRockets customer data will not be able to be used in porting numbers out.

ED

As of right now, my incoming and outgoing calls are still working. The only thing down for me is voicemail. I wonder if they are moving us over to new providers as was suggested in yesterday’s NY Times Article?

Aswath

@Slav Pidgorny: Whatever may be the promise of VoIP, but almost all VoIP providers are married to telephone number for the very simple reason that they use ATA. And then if the users use it to connect to PSTN (especially “In” service) need to assign a PSTN number and then one is forced to confront the portability issue.

Whatever may be your position on supporting independents, consumers should demand those rights that are legally theirs to those who subscribe to the incumbents. Since we demanded that VoIP should not be regulated, it is the consumers responsibility to protect themselves. At least they know what to ask for.

SunRocket customer

I checked my SunRocket account online and only the latest statement is available, and it does not contain the phone number on it. Does this mean that I have lost my number? Please advice.

Simon Ayriss

Could someone narrow down the main voip provider choices and best course of action.
Is Vonage one flat fee and depenable?
List three major companies that will stay in business for the next 5 years.
Then.
1. sign up for service. Get a new number and equipment shipped pronto.
2. fill out phone number transfer form pronto and submit.
3. keep old numbers on call forwarding.
4. hold breathe?
How can we speed up process? and who is a good carrier?

Simon Ayriss

ANNOUNCEMENT FYI FOR SUNROCKET CUSTOMERS.

*** HOT TIP ***

AND I JUST MAY BE THE FIRST POSTING IT.
AFTER ADDRESSING MY SURVIVAL RECOVERY PLAN FROM SUNROCKET OUT OF DESPERATION I CAME UP WITH THE IDEA OF LOGGING INTO MY SUNROCKET . COM MEMBER LOGIN ON THE WEBSITE – IF YOU CAN LOGIN THEN DO SO – I LOGGED IN AND CHANGED MY SUNROCKET NUMBERS SET TO [SIMPLE FORWARDING] AND SENT THEM TO MY CELL PHONES. AS OF NOW IT WORKED. HOPEFULLY YOU WILL RECEIVE CALLS AND THEY WILL BE FORWARDED WITHOUT LOSING INCOMING CALLS. [NOT DEPENDENT ON SUNROCKET] TRY IT AND ALSO TRY SIMRING WITH MULTIPLE NUMBERS. THAT MAY WORK ALSO. BUT SIMPLE FORWARDING WORKS. :-] **

NOW WHO CAN POINT ME TO THE QUICKEST WAY TO PORT OUT INTO ANOTHER DIAL TONE THAT WILL LAST LONGER THAN A YEAR. HELPFUL ADVISE WELCOME.

Aidan Henry

Is Sunrocket not providing these suggestions and recommendations for their customers? Going out of business is one thing, but screwing over your customers yet again is another. This isn’t about money – this is about good human nature.

Cheers,
Aidan
http://www.MappingTheWeb.com

Slav Pidgorny

Om, you understand that your suggestion to stay away from independent/small VoIP providers will harm teir business and slow progress in telephony space? Of course that is fine if you’re happy to live without telco competition.

One other thing: for how much longer people will care about legacy phone numbers? The great promise of VoIP is not free calls but ability to use single ID for all different ways of communication – email, instant messaging/SMS, voice, video. Verizon, Telstra, Ukrtelecom and the likes (e.g. legacy telcos) don’t even think, let alone make moves in that direction.

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