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.

3 thoughts on “why i can’t buy a norwegian skypein phone number

  1. Leif

    This same issue has been driving me crazy. Norway isn’t even in the EU, yet they hide behind the EU laws to prohibit service that every other EU country allows? Seems a little suspect to me, especially when you think that it is the Norwegian government that owns the largest telephone company in Norway. I think there are two big problems here. Number 1, norway is only 4.5 million people, which doesn’t make it worth while for skype to try to lobby the government or take their stance to court. And number 2, Norwegians, seem to be fairly passive when it comes to their government. They don’t seem to put up much of a fight if the government takes action. Such as raising some tax. It seems they just shrug it off and say, well, it must be going to something good like taking care of the elderly etc. Then they happily pay it. Is there some department you know of where we can send letters, etc to try to get them to allow skype in? What are others thoughts on all this?

  2. Ed Kohler

    Are Norwegian phone companies privately owned? If so, are they taking care of their elected officials reelection funding?

    If publicly owned, are they worried about losing tax revenue tied to traditional phones?

  3. Gary Johnson

    JetNumbers is offering numbers for Skype. They may have norwegian numbers.

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