Skype has hit a snag with SkypeIn, its service that enables people to attach a traditional phone number to their Skype account. It has had to write to some owners of 0207 London numbers to explain that their numbers will have to change. In an email, Skype explained that some 0207 numbers would stop working on Thursday 20th December: "We're very sorry to tell you that we have to change your SkypeIn number," it said.

It seems that the telecoms supplier from which Skype sourced their numbers hasn't been playing ball. A note from Skype staffer Villu Arak on the Skype Heartbeat blog has attempted to calm the situation. "We don't like doing this any more than those who'll be losing their number.... As you may know, Skype obtains SkypeIn numbers from several telecoms suppliers. So when it comes to things that involve the "plain old telephone system", we are also someone else's customers."

Skype vs suppliers

It seems that Skype spent a while talking to the supplier, "confident that the issue could be resolved. Hence the somewhat late notice to our users — we never thought things would get this far, given the time and effort put into resolving the situation." Ofcom, which deals with the original dishing out of numbers, doesn't deal with the relationship between telecoms suppliers and their customers.

"Obviously we know that asking to replace some 0207 SkypeIn numbers causes our users a lot of grief. To make up for some of this, we've given all affected 0207 SkypeIn users a new SkypeIn number. This number will be free for 12 months along with free voicemail."

"We're very sorry for the trouble and (perfectly justified) swearing that this has caused. Our people are doing their best to make sure that these kinds of unpleasant surprises won't happen again."

The 0207 numbers are derived from Gamma Telecom, but it appears the situation isn't as clear cut as that. A note on the Gamma website would indicate that the company doesn't have a direct relationship with Skype. In other words, a third party is involved.