The US based provider netTalk has entered in a legal dispute with Canadian Iristel, leaving over 75,000 Canadians without access to their numbers. Since we brought you this news early this week it had gained national newspapers’ attention. Which is good as anger over the issue is not decreasing.
At the center of the dispute is a former agreement in where netTalk acquired Canadian phone numbers from Iristel. Now here is where things start to get ... py. Iristel claims it has an unpaid bill from netTalk of 2 million dollars for said numbers. What netTalk maintains is that they got a notice from Iristel to port out all Canadian number to a new carrier by January 15th 2016. When they tried to port the numbers Iristel had blocked access to all due to the numbers not being on good standing. Canadian netTalk numbers provided by Iristel effectively report as ‘out-of-service’ to someone calling them.
Where does this leave the thousands of Canadians impacted? Note it is expected the dispute will be resolved. It shall be noted the President of Iristel, Samer Bishay, whom at one point was also the CEO of netTalk. Thus legal teams aren’t unknown to each other and are not that far apart. So something will have to give sooner than later. Reportedly CRTC and Iristel are working together to resolve the issue. While usually CRTC doesn’t get into legal/contract disputes. Will be really good if the CRTC does take this case to update regulation so never a Business to Business issue impacts end subscribers/customers.
Iristel is behind the launch of a new service called Sugar Mobile, which combines wireless service with VoIP over Wi-Fi. Unlikely the dispute to be related, but certainly this is not the publicity Iristel would want. t is in the best interest of Iristel to resolve the matter ASAP. Not only they would get paid any overdue fees but also this happens in Iristel local turf. Seems counter intuitive to allow such bad advertising to carry on for long, unless Iristel considers any advertising to be good… It had been heard from Samer Bishay that in the next couple of days the matter could be resolved. While that may be true, it could mean affected customers had been without service for about a week; simply unacceptable. Who’s is going to compensate the interrumption of service to netTalk customerst? Again, this case shows a gap in regulations. Neither Iristel nor netTalk nor anyone shall ever engage in transactions that are using customers as negotiation leverage. It is an appalling practice.
In the meantime affected netTalk customers can always get a new number to continue with their calling needs. It had been reported netTalk is offering a new number. With that said, this can also be the right time to switch provider at once. File the number porting and once Iristel/netTalk dispute is resolved – the subscriber would get their former number back.