Can I port my number out of Skype UK?

Here’s the one wild secret they don’t want you to know.

Please forgive me the horrible SEO title and URL…

I recently ported a number out of Skype UK to a much cheaper SIP VOIP provider. Skype served me well for a number I really just needed for compliance reasons… and it seemed obvious that I should actually transfer it to a supplier that would cost me about 12GBP per year, rather than 57 EUR as I was paying.

Number porting in the UK is a magical mystery tour, for all the times it “just works” other times you’ll feel like you’re playing the worst possible game of DND, with a horrible enemy and a disinterested Game Master.

Skype initially said “you don’t need to do anything special, just ask the new provider to port in” but turns out there was this one secret trick they didn’t think I’d want to know…

Skype expect your ‘surname’ as provided by your new supplier, to actually be your Skype username.

I discovered this after two failed porting attempts (for which my new super cheap provider charges me, which I understand, since the ongoing rental is so cheap).

I had asked Skype multiple times what to do: before the first port, after the first failure, after the second failure.

Most of these interactions were pretty infuriating “Porting is done by your new provider… it’s nothing to do with us” – despite that fact that My New Provider asks Skype to port, and Skype then says yes/no… They are pretty involved in the situation.

Skype wouldn’t tell the new provider what was wrong, beyond “the surname didn’t match” – This is entirely correct, because since Skype UK don’t seem to implement any porting code/verification scheme, for security they can’t and shouldn’t tell the port destination…

However they wouldn’t then tell me, via an authenticated channel, what they were expecting. Merely “you did it wrong try again… porting is nothing to do with us.”

It was only when I then went on another chat, talking about going to the ombudsman, and generally being a pain, did the porting team authorise the port, and revealed to the provider “yeah, the surname needs to be the username”.

This is not mentioned on their documentation. Or provided in live-chat because it’s seemingly a rare occurrence.

So if you’ve come to this post, having had problems porting out, try again telling your new provider that your ‘surname’ is in fact your username.