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Thread: Airvoice won't release number for port-out

  1. #1
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    Angry Airvoice won't release number for port-out

    On Monday morning, I initiated a port-out request from Airvoice Wireless to a new carrier. After about an hour, the new carrier emailed me saying that Airvoice had not responded to their port request, and that I should contact them.

    I contacted Airvoice on Monday, and they said their porting system had some issue, it was being resolved, and the port-out should hopefully happen soon. They said I could email [email protected] to get an update on the port request status. I emailed them, and never got a reply.

    On Tuesday, I called again, and was basically told the same story as Monday, though they added, "they are fixing the issue now, and are starting to manually release numbers". I emailed again later that day, also no response.

    On Wednesday, I called yet again. I went to tech support via the phone tree (same as I had the previous two days), I was on hold for 45 minutes, then they dropped the call. I tried again, same thing. (I put my headphones in and did work while I was on hold, so it wasn't completely unproductive time! But still, being dropped after such a long hold is incredibly rude.)

    So I tried going to the "billing/make changes" department via the phone tree. The person I spoke with said the "account specialist team" is responsible for porting out, but there is no way for anyone to communicate with them. Not even the people I was speaking with on the phone, they can only communicate via instant message or email, and that team isn't responding. I asked to speak with a supervisor. He assured me the port-out request would be fulfilled "within the day".

    Well, it didn't happen. So today (Thursday) I called again. Went through basically the same rigamarole. Once again I spoke with a supervisor. He claimed they took this system down for maintenance on May 13, and it only came back online on May 31; and even then, it's "not fully back up". As an IT professional, I cannot think of any business that would accept having a critical system down for weeks for maintenance!

    The supervisor maintains that there is no way to get in touch with the account specialist team except email/instant message. I asked to talk to the supervisor's manager, and was told that also that individual cannot be reached except via email or instant message.

    Do I have any further recourse here?

    I feel I'm either getting the runaround, or their systems/staff are woefully inadequate. Either way, it looks pretty bad for them.

  2. #2
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    This is why I'd like to see phone numbers and phone service take a page out of the web hosting industry. Although... I really can't see phone companies releasing their grip on this.

    In web hosting, you register a domain name - i.e. howardforums.com - from an entity like GoDaddy. You then order a web hosting service - think of it as disk space to put up all of the pages, HTML, images, etc. When you purchase web hosting service, that service will give you nameservers to use to POINT your domain name to their service. You log into your account where you registered the domain name - i.e. GoDaddy - and you update the nameservers for the domain name to the nameserver specified.

    I really wish phone number and phone service followed this model.

    Purchase a phone number from one provider - just a number, no service, just something that says "you own this phone number"

    Then when you purchase phone service from any carrier or MVNO, they give you phone "nameservers".

    You log into your account where you purchased the phone number and update the "nameservers" to the ones specified by that carrier.

    Want to change carriers? Easy. Purchase phone service from another carrier, they give you a different set of phone "nameservers", log into your account with your phone number provider and update the nameservers.

    No reliance on an old phone service having to "release" a number. Your number stays yours and you can freely move to any carrier you want.

    But this would likely entail fundamental changes to the phone number infrastructure. Admittedly I'm not all that well versed in how the infrastructure works. But if something like this were possible, I think it's a great idea.

  3. #3
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    Yes, I absolutely, 100% agree with you. Not only should the end-user truly own their number, but they should have the ability to manage who routes to/from it. Your domain analogy is spot-on.

    I'm guessing, and this is pure speculation, there are probably some legacy systems in place that make something like this hard. Though I would imagine as things are upgraded (especially with wireless, which is still evolving) they are increasingly "digitalized" which in theory makes changes easier. My cynical supposition is that the current system gives carriers power over their customers, and what incentive do they have to empower their customers?

    While it's certainly fun and easy to imagine a better system, are there any ways to better navigate my way through the current one?

  4. #4
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    File an FCC complaint.


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    Quote Originally Posted by YetAnotherMatt View Post
    While it's certainly fun and easy to imagine a better system, are there any ways to better navigate my way through the current one?
    The closest thing that I know of, would be Google Voice (there may be other services that operate like Google Voice).

    Where you get a number from Google Voice, you get a Google Voice interface via a browser, and you can set calls and text messages to forward to your current carrier number.

    Then you can switch carriers without having to worry about porting your number out. Just get a new number from your new carrier, and log into your Google Voice account and update the number.

    Of course... this relies on you actually advertising out your Google Voice number and not your carrier number, and I didn't do that so I'm kind of stuck to my carrier number. I suppose you could port your carrier number (assuming you can port it out) to Google Voice. But Google doesn't support my Local Exchange Carrier, so no dice for me.

    And then I'm not entirely sure if outbound phone calls, text messages, MMS messages, etc can all be routed out through your Google Voice number. I guess you'd have to use the Google Voice app on your phone. That wouldn't work with a feature phone.

    And then you're also consuming two telephone numbers. Every person that does this would have to take two eligible telephone numbers out of the telephone number pool. Having something with "phone nameservers" would alleviate the need for taking so many telephone numbers out of the pool.

  6. #6
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    Airvoice's new owner might be trashing everything and everyone. You know how these outfits operate.

    So there might literally be nobody for the FCC to contact. The 3G helpers and just general porting operations may no longer be staffed. Too much trouble and expense. Probably the actual phone service sucks also.

    So they just tell lies and hope everyone goes away.

    My recommendation is to get going with a new number somewhere and work on the porting situation in the meantime.

    We just rent these phone numbers, and don't have a lot of control.

    The porting requirements might not be in effect if the company appears distressed. AT&T might just reclaim the number pool.

  7. #7
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    We should be able to own the numbers & only lose them if they're inactive for 20 years. At least given the option. I'd buy my number for $100 if I could own it. And don't give me that Google Voice guff it's not mission critical reliable.
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  8. #8
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    There are only so many numbers. It cannot be infinite. Numbers are also specific to certain locations.

    You don't want someone to buy 100,000 numbers and hold them hostage.

    There has to be regulation, so the end user is just renting from an allotment. Porting mixes up the mix, but it evidently balances out.

  9. #9
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    It looks like you really only have two choices. 1. Continue using AirVoice and keep bothering them until they finally release your number or, 2. Get a new number from another MVNO and just let your AirVoice plan expire. Be sure to cancel autopay if you use it.

    This is very bad publicity for AirVoice which at one time had good customer support.
    If you think the pandemic is bad now, just wait. Doctors tell us the next variant plays the accordion.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisme View Post
    There are only so many numbers. It cannot be infinite. Numbers are also specific to certain locations.

    You don't want someone to buy 100,000 numbers and hold them hostage.

    There has to be regulation, so the end user is just renting from an allotment. Porting mixes up the mix, but it evidently balances out.
    No doubt that there are some obstacles and hurdles that would have to be overcome to separate this.

    But I think if you want true number portability you have to split up phone number ownership and phone service rental.

    Otherwise you're just going to continue to get issues like the OP is describing. Sure you can file a complaint, but who has time for your number to sit in limbo for 5 years while the FCC tries to sort it out?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Relztrah View Post
    This is very bad publicity for AirVoice which at one time had good customer support.
    Checking my account, I've had service with them for eight years. I've had my wife on them for at least a couple years. Until now, I never called them, and had both accounts set to auto-pay.

    You'd think they'd want to make customers like me happy: long-term customers with auto-pay that never require any additional support. Surely that's the bread and butter for MVNOs?

    Anyway, as an update: my Airvoice service continued to work through last night. This morning I saw that my phone had no service. So my initial assumption was that the porting request finally completed.

    I put in the new carrier's sim... no service. I checked my status with the new carrier, it still says "waiting on previous carrier to release your number" (same as it's said all week, since the initial request on Monday).

    I once again called AirVoice, they claim that there is an "AT&T tower issue". My wife is also using Airvoice (and I am not currently trying to port-out her number), and her service works just fine. Is it possible for AT&T to have an issue that selectively affects people in the exact same geographic area? Perhaps there is a legitimate technical reason, but given all I've dealt with from Airvoice thus far, I am not inclined to believe them.

    I did file a complaint with the FCC yesterday, for what it's worth.

    Now that I have no service and cannot get any feedback from Airvoice as to when they will release my number, I am forced to get a second SIM for the new carrier, and use that one for a new number. I'll give Airvoice a few more days and hope they finally release my number... otherwise, looks like I have to go through the hassle of updating my number everywhere... it's one thing to notify all the people involved, but I was just thinking, I have "text message" as my 2-factor authentication method for a lot of websites, so that compounds the problem of updating a mobile number.
    Last edited by YetAnotherMatt; 06-10-2022 at 03:35 PM. Reason: finish sentence

  12. #12
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    As I was typing the previous message, I actually got an automated response on the email I sent Monday. It says, "It appears the Port Out request is missing information. We have put the request in Resolution Required Status. Please provide the Account number." When I called on Monday, the agent with whom I spoke took my account number, and verified that it was correct. In other words, the account number I initially provided was correct, and it was (supposedly) double-checked by Airvoice on Monday during my call!

    Furthermore, there is a "chat now" link attached to the email. When I click on that, it says, "Our agents are not available right now. Please leave a message and we'll get back to you. Our working time: Monday - Friday : 08:00 a.m – 05:00 p.m CST." It's Friday, 1:55 p.m. CST right now.

  13. #13
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    Wow. How the mighty have fallen. Airvoice used to be one of the better att mvno's. Keep pushing, request to escalate the issue. Speak to a supervisor, etc. I know you did request a supervisor or 3, but keep demanding them.

    Post on facebook, twatter, and any other social media platforms airvoice uses. Including your OP there might cause the necessary publicity needed to get this resolved.

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