why i can’t buy a norwegian skypein phone number

The only reason I have a landline phone connection is so that my daughter’s friends can ring her easily and cheaply. Mobile and skype would be more than enough for me, but while MSN chat’s certainly gaining ground in the local 9-10 year old cohort, phones are still essential. A couple more years and I suppose they’ll all have their own mobiles, but let’s hold off on that while we can.

I happily use Skype for many things, and so I’ve often grumbled when finding that Norway still isn’t on the list of countries where SkypeIn is available. So while I could buy a phone number that lets offline, old-fashioned phone-based people phone my computer in the US, Sweden, Denmark and a number of other countries, I can’t get a local Norwegian number for Skype.

The reason? Skype’s own FAQ is pretty useless, but according to digi.no, Norway has chosen to interpret EU legislation about IP telephony more strictly than other European countries. Or (not sure if I understood the article correctly) perhaps it’s just that the EU legislation includes a bit about “must follow national legislation” and the Norwegian national legislation is stricter than other nations’. Apparently the legislation requires any service offering actual traditional phone numbers to follow national rules:

  • Norwegian numbers must only be used in Norway (not sure how roaming mobile phone services deal with this?)
  • You have to be able to keep the number if you switch to another provider
  • Stationary phones must be able to provide emergency services with precise locations to ease rescue operations. (But surely Skype wouldn’t count as stationary?)
  • It’s interesting to see the numerous ways in which we strive to maintain nations and clear boundaries even as technology and migration make nations less and less significant in everyday life and culture.

16. May 2006 by Jill

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