Former SunRocket customers struggle with new provider

Customers of SunRocket, the VoIP company that recently folded, may have hoped their troubles were over when two competitors stepped up to offer them service in the absence of the failed provider.

But for some, transferring to one of the new providers hasn't proved to be a better option than SunRocket. Some customers that chose to move to Teleblend, one of the companies that offered to buy SunRocket customers, have had poor service this week.

On Wednesday, Teleblend apologized to customers in a statement for a service disruption that occurred earlier in the week. The company said that it had fixed the problem and also apologized for previous statements that blamed Global Crossing for the issues.

On its support Web page, Teleblend said that as of Wednesday morning, inbound and outbound calling services and voicemail were all available.

Some Teleblend customers, however, say they're still having problems. Marc Kruskol, of MJK Public Relations in Van Nuys, Calif., says that as of Wednesday late afternoon he is still unable to receive calls.

The episode is likely unwelcome news for Sherwood Partners, a company that agreed to help wind down SunRocket. Teleblend and 8x8, two VoIP service providers, agreed to pay Sherwood a small fee for each former SunRocket customer they sign up.

Martin Pichinson, co-managing member of Sherwood Partners, said that Teleblend and 8X8 made a commitment to invest in back-end equipment and the customer support necessary to take on SunRocket customers. However, with such a large number of customers, there were bound to be issues, he said. He pointed to the opening weekend that the iPhone went on sale. AT&T had problems activating the volume of new customers. Teleblend and 8X8 are facing a similar challenge, he said.

SunRocket was the second largest independent VoIP provider, behind Vonage, with 200,000 customers. Some customers began complaining of service issues with SunRocket in mid-July. The company quickly folded but Sherwood said it was able to sell some network assets in order to keep the service running until Sunday, so that customers would have time to switch to a new provider.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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