Good News. You'll Be Able To Keep Your Cell Phone Number When You Switch Carriers

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Peter Kline, Jun 6, 2003.

  1. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 1999
    Messages:
    2,393
    Likes Received:
    0
    Consumers can keep phone numbers

    WASHINGTON (APOnline) ? In a major and welcome victory for cellular-phone users, a federal court ruled Friday that consumers should be allowed to keep their phone numbers when they switch providers.

    Consumer advocates say the inability to retain numbers is one of the biggest barriers preventing more cell phone users from switching in search of better service and prices. The Federal Communications Commission is requiring wireless carriers to provide "number portability" by Nov. 24.

    In April, attorneys for Verizon Wireless and the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, an industry group, told a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that the FCC overstepped its authority by imposing the requirement. They said it will raise costs while doing little to increase competition.

    The court rejected that challenge, calling the FCC's action "permissible and reasonable." The court also said the cell phone companies waited too long to object to the rule.

    "It is obvious that any regulation that frees consumers from staying with carriers with whom they are dissatisfied affords them protection," the court said. "It was reasonable for the FCC to conclude that wireless consumers would switch carriers at even higher rates if they could keep their phone numbers."

    CTIA President Tom Wheeler said he was disappointed by the decision. He said the FCC hasn't provided enough guidance on how number portability will work.

    "There are only 24 weeks between now and the portability deadline, but the basic 'how tos' have yet to be addressed," he said. "The FCC must announce final rules by Labor Day or consumers will find chaos in the market."

    Congress decided in 1996 that people can keep their traditional local phone numbers when they change phone companies. The FCC decided soon after that wireless carriers should offer that ability to people in the largest 100 U.S. cities by June 1999.

    The FCC extended that deadline three times, most recently granting a yearlong extension last summer after Verizon Wireless asked the commission to eliminate the requirement.

    Most wireless companies argue that their industry is competitive enough and doesn't need a regulatory boost. They say there are about 146 million U.S. cell phone subscribers and about a third of them change carriers each year.

    The wireless industry estimates that number portability will cost more than $1 billion in the first year and $500 million each year thereafter. The industry says that expense will make it harder to provide better cell phone coverage and cheaper phones.

    Many cell phone users outside the United States, in places such as Britain, Australia and Hong Kong, already have the option of keeping their numbers when they switch carriers.
     
  2. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 17, 1999
    Messages:
    2,358
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good News!

    My cell phone bill just went up 47 cents per month to pay for this "Federal Telephone Number Pooling".

    I am now paying almost 18% in taxes on my cell phone bill.
     
  3. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2002
    Messages:
    829
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'll pay a little more in taxes to take advantage of the competition.
     
  4. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 17, 1999
    Messages:
    2,358
    Likes Received:
    0
    Cell phone providers typically require a one or two year contract and will penalize you for pulling out early. If this new regulation entices more people to switch providers then the providers are going to be lighting their cigars with burning $100 bills.
     
  5. David Preston

    David Preston Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's about time. This should have happen a long time ago. Not that I'll switch. I have a old plan that my nights start at 7:00pm. I can start talking early. Most plans night time min start at 9:00pm.
     
  6. Bill Gato

    Bill Gato Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2001
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    0
    Perhaps this new ruling will forestall new area codes being created to accomodate the rapidly dwindling number of new phone numbers being available to consumers.

    If I can keep my cell phone number when I change carriers, then I won't be using up a new number when I do change.
     
  7. Devin U

    Devin U Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2002
    Messages:
    399
    Likes Received:
    0
    I lived in the UK when they implimented number portability there, and rates cut in half like 50% overnight. This really will help the consumer. Only downside I see is, no more heavily discounted (i.e. free) phones. Were gonna have to pay full price for our phones, even on contract. You'll also see contracts getting longer. I think Verizon, Sprint, and ATT want 2 or 3 year contracts for new customers now.
     
  8. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 1997
    Messages:
    19,357
    Likes Received:
    293
    Real Name:
    Cees Alons
    I second Devin's remarks. We have number portability for almost 4 years now (not just mobile phones, every sort of connection) - and rates have gone down.

    (BTW, for the newest generation, like my daughter, keeping one's number even isn't that important anymore as it seems for us: they never write down a number, or know someone's number by head. It's in their phone - stored when a friend calls them. Nowhere else.)

    Cees
     
  9. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 1999
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    1
     
  10. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2000
    Messages:
    3,276
    Likes Received:
    102
    Since I only have a business provided cell the cost issue really isn't that important to me but since I like my number (It has a lyrical quality to it that is easy for people to remember.) I'm glad that I'll be able to transfer the number if the company changes providers.
     
  11. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 1999
    Messages:
    2,393
    Likes Received:
    0
    Many European countries already have programs in place so that users can carry over phone numbers to new providers.
     
  12. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 1997
    Messages:
    19,357
    Likes Received:
    293
    Real Name:
    Cees Alons
    Yep, and they're about to implement that for bank account numbers too! (At the moment, the first numbers of your bank account here are typical for the bank you are a customer of.)

    Cees
     
  13. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 6, 1999
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can someone explain to me why we as consumers should have the "right" to carry a phone number (or bank account, as Cees said) from one private company to another?

    I don't think the lower rates everyone is mentioning occurred due to number portability. In the US, cell phones rates are dirt cheap right now, I believe due to competition. In Chicago, we have at least six major cell phone providers, and their price plans are all similar. As Wayne said, most companies have a stiff early-termination fee, which will mitigate any advantage to portability.

    Perhaps I should start a campaign to keep my Visa card number, video store number, Internet IDs, e-mail, etc. in case I make the decision to switch companies. [​IMG]
     
  14. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2001
    Messages:
    534
    Likes Received:
    1
     
  15. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    2
    I'm with Matt. I would have switched carriers last year but for the need to keep my existing number, which is now my primary business number. Instead, I re-upped for a year, the shortest commitment I could make. Assuming the new regs kick in as scheduled, I'll be switching carriers in December.

     
  16. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 6, 1999
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  17. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2001
    Messages:
    534
    Likes Received:
    1
     
  18. Devin U

    Devin U Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2002
    Messages:
    399
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  19. ToddR

    ToddR Agent

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2000
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have looked at rates in Europe, and they are not nearly as good as in the US. For example, Vodafone in UK charges 50 pounds (about US$83) for 400 "anytime" minutes. In the US, you can get 400 anytime minutes for $40, and get all the nights and weekends you can use for free.

    Wireless service is one example where telecom deregulation has worked very well in the US. Prices are probably the best value in the world. Now the question is, are the regulators taking it too far? By allowing customers to take their numbers with them, we probably will see intensified price wars in the industry, which will further weaken the financial health of the industry. And, if the companies are financially weakened, they will be forced to cut back investments in network capacity, which will lead to deteriorated quality of service. So, yes, number portability will probably lead to lower prices, but, remember, you get what you pay for, and service quality will most likely get worse (and isn't it bad enough already?)
     
  20. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 6, 1999
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    0
     

Share This Page