SunRocket VOIP no more

SunRocket has really stirred up the VOIP industry over the last week, with their abrupt exit from the market. I am an actual SunRocket customer, so I’ll divulge the events that transpired. On Wednesday, July 18th the message boards over at dslreports.com were boiling with rumors of SunRocket death. Apparently they had just laid off most of their employees. On Thursday, July 19th, I received an email from SunRocket:

Dear Customers, After significant effort by the Company to avoid this result, SunRocket is in the process of closing its operations and therefore will no longer be able to provide you with the phone service that you have been accustomed to. However, this email provides you with an opportunity to sign up with select service providers who we believe will offer outstanding replacement service In order to assist you, we have entered into negotiations with a number of service providers. As a result of those negotiations, we have entered into agreements with 8×8, Inc., provider of the Packet8 service, and Unified Communications Corp., provider of Teleband service to offer you the best options and we are proud to recommend the following alternatives to you. Please make your decision to move to a new service provides immediately as future service is uncertain.

They went on to detail the offerings by the other providers: Packet8 and Teleblend. Packet8 is a reputable and well established company, probably one of the top three VOIP providers. I had never heard of Teleblend, however. Many SunRocket users started reporting loss of service, and a switching frenzy started. Every VOIP company was jumping on the bandwagon by offering a special offer for SunRocket users to switch to them. SunRocket had over 200,000 customers, which could cause quite a load on the other VOIP providers. Many companies are getting overwhelmed, which slows the ordering and transfer process. After a couple hours of research, I decided to make the switch to Vonage. They don’t have the best rating for customer service, but they are the largest VOIP provider. They were offering the best deal for SunRocket customers: 2 months free, free equipment, free activation, and free OVERNIGHT shipping. Click for more info. Thats a savings of over $160. To my delight, my equipment was shipped the next day, and received the following business day. So far so good. Number portability was also a concern for me. I know when I transferred to SunRocket, the number port took over 30 days. The other providers I researched stated approximately 20 business days for a transfer. Vonage initialized the port when I ordered service and expects 10 business days for the transfer. They since confirmed the transfer date at 10 total days from my order date. Luckily my SunRocket service is still operational, so it looks like I won’t miss many calls before my number is transferred.

Number portability: When signing up with a VOIP provider they will allow you to port your existing number to their service. They usually immediately ship your equipment and assign a temporary number, so that service is available before the transfer completes. The transfer takes anywhere from 10-30+ days to complete, depending on the provider.

I have not had enough time to evaluate the Vonage phone service, but so far the ordering and transferring process has been stellar. I won’t have to worry about the company dropping off the face of the earth at any moment like SunRocket. I can’t believe SunRocket could not take the time to atleast seamlessly transfer customers to another provider. The customers that didn’t get the email and haven’t heard the news will be in for a surprise when their phone service goes dead. I suppose consumers should be weary of signing up with smaller companies, especially when signing an annual plan, which seems to be popular. Even though SunRocket is closing its doors, this didn’t stop them from charging customers an annual renewal fee ($199) last month. This sudden shutdown has raised a lot of questions, and may lead the FCC to instate some kind of regulations for the VOIP industry.

I went with Vonage for three main reasons:

  • They are the largest provider of VOIP.
  • I like their plan options: $24.99/month for unlimited calls or $14.99/month for 500 minutes.
  • They’re offering the best sign up deal for SunRocket customers.

 
The Vonage plans, like most VOIP providers includes all the features that telco companies charge an arm and leg for: caller ID, call waiting, call fowarding, etc. I can’t imagine not having caller ID. Even when the telco plans seem to get close (Verizon Freedom Essentials, $44.99/month, includes unlimited calling and most features), don’t forget to add all the fees like the Federal Subscriber Line Charge at $6.50 or more a month. The wording makes it sound like it goes to the government. Its actually the amount approved by the FCC that goes to the telco company to pay for their infrastructure.

July 26, 2007 Post by in VOIP.