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netTalk VoIP subscribers in Canada lose incoming phone service due to dispute

Iristel, a licensed telecommunications company in Canada that provides the Canadian phone numbers to Florida based VoIP provider netTalk, has suspended service due to non-payment of services.

According to Iristel, nearly $2 Million in fees for the past two years is outstanding. Iristel claims that it has been requesting payment from netTalk for several months. Iristel provided a final notice in December 2015 to either pay the overdue amount or service would be shut down effective January 15, 2016. netTalk does not have a telecommunications license in Canada, so it is unable to provide telecom services in Canada. The company rents the numbers from Iristel, and re-sells them to netTalk customers in Canada. netTalk claims it did receive notice for payment and the warning that services would be shut down on January 15th, 2016. Instead of making the payment, netTalk made arrangements to have all numbers ported to a third-party telcom provider prior to the deadline. According to netTalk, the new provider made multiple attempts to transfer the numbers before the deadline, but received no response from Iristel.

During the interruption, netTalk’s solution was to provide customers with another telephone number they can use. This is the not first time netTalk has been in a non-payment dispute, Iristel stepped in and helped netTalk back in 2013 when they were disconnected from another provider Fibernetics for non-payment. You can find more info on Iristel’s side of the dispute here : Guarantee to netTalk customers

On January 21st, Iristel restored service to netTalk Canadian subscribers by completing a deal with another telecom service provider Primus Canada. In the deal, Primus will be paid for services provided while Iristel will receive a portion of that payment. More info here netTalk phone lines back in service. While the parent company of Primus has just filed for bankruptcy, there’s a possibility of future supplier related service disruptions for netTalk’s Canadian subscribers. This recent interruption only lasted 6 days while the previous dispute in 2013 was costly, as some customers lost established phone numbers. Buyer beware when porting your phone number to a VoIP provider.

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