UPDATED: ispONE fallout continues as ONEseniors customers (nearly) lose phone numbers

The chaos continues...

Update: After the publication of this story, Vocus said the phone numbers of ONEseniors customers are not lost after all.

"Telstra has revised the advice given to Vocus yesterday in relation to number portability," Vocus said in a statement. Telstra has "confirmed that customers can ask their new providers to transfer existing numbers."

"In the majority of cases, Telstra should be able to extract those numbers from quarantine, ensuring customers can retain existing landline numbers with new providers.This is a win for customers and good news for those still to put new supply arrangements in place."

Meanwhile, the Communications Alliance, the industry body for telcos, pledged to review industry arrangements meant to keep customers connected if their provider goes bust.

“We recognize that the recent events involving several resellers going into administration have resulted in some customers being disconnected and inconvenienced, and that industry must strive to minimize this occurrence”, CommsAlliance CEO John Stanton said in a statement.

Original story follows:

ONEseniors customers have lost their landline phone numbers as a result of continued repercussions from last year’s ispONE implosion.

Last week, Vocus Communications acquired the customers of ONEseniors and others in the One Telecom and iBOSS umbrella. Also, CONEC2, the company that had purchased many of the ispONE assets in September last year, went into administration.

Vocus said it had attempted to unravel the complex supply arrangements and corporate structure at play in order to restore services for the affected customers, but was ultimately unsuccessful.

“Due to the complexity of the web of companies of the previous owners and the lack of support of the other telecommunications suppliers (other than Telstra) it is not possible to get the user services back online,” Vocus said last week.

“Rather than protract the uncertainty any further, regrettably we have to confirm that existing OneSeniors and OneTelecom services will not be reconnected. The only way for these services to be activated is for each customer to sign up for a new service.”

To assist customers, Vocus made an arrangement with iPrimus to set up new services and a dedicated call centre for migrating ONEseniors and One Telecom customers.

However, on Monday there were further complications that meant ONEseniors customers who had not yet switched to a new provider would lose their phone numbers.

“On Monday this week, the secured creditors of One Telecom Pty Ltd and IBoss International Pty Ltd appointed receivers and managers to those businesses,” Vocus said.

“As a result, the administrators previously appointed are no longer in control. We have been advised today that the new receivers have terminated supply arrangements with Telstra. Telstra services were previously only suspended.”

“The impact for ONESeniors customers is that they will no longer be able to keep their existing landline number,” Vocus said. “So unless they have already re-connected with a new provider, their existing number is lost and cannot be recovered. Any new services with a new supplier will require a new number.”

It all started last year when ispONE went into voluntary administration after losing a legal battle with Telstra wholesale.

ispONE had been a Telstra Wholesale customer for mobile and broadband products and on-sold these services to retailers including Kogan Mobile and Medion (which sells mobile services through the ALDImobile brand), using the Telstra Wholesale Pre-Paid Mobile product.

On August 12, ispONE filed an application with the Federal Court to stop Telstra from terminating its service. Telstra had alleged the reseller failed to pay its invoices.

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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Tags TelstraTelcoadministrationacquisitionispONEtelecomwholesalephone numberslandlineOne TelecomONEseniors

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