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Handhelds United States Hardware

Cell Phone Number Portability Finally A Reality? 259

graphicartist82 writes "MSNBC is running an article about the upcoming deadline for cell phone companies to let customers keep their numbers when switching companies. FCC Chairman Michael Powell has already extended the deadline once, but plans to stay with the Nov 24th, 2003 deadline. Companies like Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile have committed to meeting the deadline. I, for one, would love this. I've had the same cell phone number for years now -- it's where everybody knows how to get a hold of me. Other companies are now offering better services in my area where they weren't before. If I can keep my number and get a better service, I'm all for it! (Even if I have to pay a fee like the article suggests)."
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Cell Phone Number Portability Finally A Reality?

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  • by M.C. Hampster ( 541262 ) <> on Thursday March 27, 2003 @12:18PM (#5607675) Journal

    Is anyone aware of any regulations allowing you to transfer your home phone number to your cell phone if you were to disconnect your home phone number? I think I remember reading about rules stating you could keep your home phone number if you switched land carriers, and now you'll be able to keep your cell phone number when you switch cell carriers, but what about if you are ditching your land line altogether?

    • Is anyone aware of any regulations allowing you to transfer your home phone number to your cell phone if you were to disconnect your home phone number? I think I remember reading about rules stating you could keep your home phone number if you switched land carriers, and now you'll be able to keep your cell phone number when you switch cell carriers, but what about if you are ditching your land line altogether?

      This could be one of those areas where those cellular companies that are tied to land line prov
      • Yeah, but then you could take that verison cell number and port it to a sprint or t-mobile phone. I think land and cell lines will relamin seperate for a while for 1 very good reason. It's illegal for telemarketers adn the likes to call cell phones. I doubt that anyone wants those 2 databases intermingling.
    • Is anyone aware of any regulations allowing you to transfer your home phone number to your cell phone if you were to disconnect your home phone number? I think I remember reading about rules stating you could keep your home phone number if you switched land carriers, and now you'll be able to keep your cell phone number when you switch cell carriers, but what about if you are ditching your land line altogether?

      On a somewhat related note, you _can_ transfer the home number to someone else. When we moved (2
    • No you can't, the exchanges are regulated by the fcc... so you simply can't have the same exchange for a land line and a cell phone.
    • Is anyone aware of any regulations allowing you to transfer your home phone number to your cell phone if you were to disconnect your home phone number?

      I think there are a lot of people who would rather not really want to go through such a transfer. Sure, there are some who would find it convenient, but think about it - how many phone calls does your home phone number get at dinner time? Or if your area is like mine, all day long? My home phone got at least 30 calls during pre-dinner hours, all of them te

      • Actually, I get very few. Colorado's opt-in no call list is very effective. Unfortunately, people with whom you have a "pre-existing business relationship" are exempt, so I still get occasional of phone spam from the telco.
  • Why do we need it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by floppy ears ( 470810 ) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @12:21PM (#5607696) Homepage
    "I'm not sure why we need it, as 30 some odd percent of the customers in this country switch carriers every year without this grand and glorious number portability opportunity," said Richard Lynch, Verizon Wireless chief technology officer.

    Gee, maybe it's because your service sucks so badly, that people are willing to change *despite* the horrible inconvenience?
    • Exactly - and not just service, but price will become even more of a competitive issue for the carriers. I know that as soon as this gets put in place, I'm going to re-evaluate our calling plan...
    • Or as in my case where the area code of the city changed, and so I was aleready going to lose the Area code and first 3-digits. At that point i figured switching to a new number wasn't a big difference!
    • See, that's just the thing. If they're going to downplay the value and utility of WNP, then why are they fighting it so hard? Simple, because their customers tell them all the time that they would leave if they didn't have to change their number. I'm shackled to my carrier because I don't want my number, which I've had for years, to change.

      What they fail to see is that if they are competitive, and they beleive their service is what they say it is, they will likely have a net loss of ZERO customers, beca
  • Congratulations! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Troed ( 102527 )
    ... this has been implemented since some time in Sweden. We used to be able to tell which carrier someone had (nice when trying to guess the cost of the call) but now we can't anymore ..

    I can't see I approve actually, just because of that - but maybe you don't have the possibility of deducing the carrier from the number as it is?

    • Give it some time and the prices will change to something like NetComs (Norway's second largest telecom) prices. Basically breaks down to same rate to all types of "normal" phonenumbers, including landlines, cellphones from all operators, etc...
      Hopefully it's just a matter of time before the biggest operator (Telenor) does the same ;-)
    • but maybe you don't have the possibility of deducing the carrier from the number as it is?

      That depends on where you are and the ILEC, etc. In Michigan, cell #s were pulled out of a pool from Pontiac, Ann Arbor, and Detroit exchanges...I imagine you could figure it out, but there are so many carriers (Sprint PCS, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Nextel, and Cingular are the bigger ones I can think of off the top of my head) that I'm not at all certain you could keep track of it very easily.
  • No offense, but if you now rejoice at this news, then you are trully living in mobile communications stone age.
    Anywhere in Europe, this is expected/demanded by the customers.

    • Good for you.
    • Re:Finally? (Score:3, Insightful)

      No kidding.

      I have a friend who is a project manager at a "Major Wireless Carrier" who said that the reason it's not here yet is that it's "really hard".

      OK, every country in the entire friggin WORLD has this except for the US. The only reason we DON'T have it is that the carriers didn't want to make it easy to switch over. It can't be that hard if most of Europe has it, because y'all in Europe have more cell phones than we do. Japan's got number portability, and they've got assloads more phones than we
      • Re:Finally? (Score:5, Informative)

        by choco ( 36913 ) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @01:44PM (#5608420) Homepage
        > It can't be that hard if most of Europe has it,

        Actually - yes it can. It is technically complex and hard to impliment properly / reliably - It only seems easy because the problems have been solved.

        There are some minor differences in the way that call routing works between GSM and the various USA systems. But these are generally small - they all sit on top of SS7 and getting calls through to the location is done by essentially the same Processes in the SS7 SCCP TCAP and MAP layers. If GSM can make it work then the USA will be able to too.

        What is more of a problem is the lack of consistency in the way that number portability is implimented. SS7/SCCP/TCAP/MAP doesn't explicitly provide for portability - so it has to be "bolted on" and not every territory does it the same.

        Sometimes you want to originate a call or send an SMS and you need to know which network hosts the handset. (Usually you want to do this because you're providing a service in a country (EG Hong Hong) where the carriers are always squabbling and won't neccesarily route your call through to the right network)

        Anyway, some territories (eg HongKong) have implimented number portability by means of a centralised common database - and if you provide a service and have multiple trunks into each network (as we do) then you have to negoiate access to that Database and treat it as a whole extra layer before you even start connecting to the network proper. Even then there can be messy differences between territories in the detail of how these databases work.

        Other places (EG the UK) do it completely different. Here there is an extra Database associated with every HLR ( Home Location Register - one of the key Databases involved with routing calls to mobiles). When a number is ported, the GTTS (Global Title Translation Service - converts phone numbers into the point codes which underly the SS7 network) in the originating network SCCP still returns the point code of the original operator's HLR - practically speaking it has to or the routing tables would become impossibly large. When that HLR receives a "sendRoutingInfo" message it first checks in its portability database and if the number has been ported elsewhere, then it forwards the message to the new HLR - which will query the current VLR and provide the routing info. This has the advantage that it is transparent to everyone else on the SS7 network , but has the disadvantage that if you actually want to know which network you're paying to receive the call - it's harder to find out. The other disadvantage of this system is the admin is more awkward. Potentially you could be relying on three different companies to make your network change work. All the UK phone companies are a bit of a admin. shambles even at the best of times.

        We're busy designing and implimenting various SMS configured voice conferencing services - and this single issue is more complex than just about all the rest put together.

        What will be interesting will be to see how the USA has decided to solve the problem. It will face essentially the same choices as countries with GSM - and the same tradeoffs.

    • No offense, but if you now rejoice at this news, then you are trully living in mobile communications stone age.
      Anywhere in Europe, this is expected/demanded by the customers.

      No please, offend. Non-USians have no idea how friggin nefarious the FCC and telecoms are in the states.

      I know people who think cells in the States are awesome, then they see my useless-in-the-States handy sitting on the counter and ask me about. They can't believe how much cheaper and featureful it is than shitty old Verizon service
    • And without a fee!
      Why would you want a fee for something that might give you more customers?
      Of course, if you are one of the operators with lousy service, you'll *loose* customers. =)
  • Cell phone companies will find another way to prevent you from taking your cell phone number and/or equipment when you change carriers. It's sad, really, but that's the way these companies operate - snag the customer, keep them until they either default, or just can't take anymore.

    I want it so that when you sign up to a company, you can keep the phone, even if you change services - the phone number can be changed, I don't care. But other people's milage my vary...
    • All it will take is for one of the carriers (possibly a new one) to support it. They'll advertise that the phone number you get from them will be the last one you'll ever need, since they support phone number portability. They'll build up a huge number of customers based on this tactic, and other carriers will want to be able to lure those customers away. They'll only be able to do so by also supporting number portability.

      Also, what are the penalties that the FCC will enforce? Maybe they'll start taki
  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @12:23PM (#5607724) Journal
    What I would like, is if carriers lived up to what they "say" you get with a plan (as far as coverage, and often battery life for phones, etc). My carrier advertises high coverage, they even have a little map indicating coverage areas, but when it comes down to actual reception, my home city has "dead spots" which are really not accounted for (notably the mall area, outside not inside, which is often somewhere one might want to use the phone for calling rides, etc).

    If a carrier doesn't live up to their boasts, we should be able to drop a bad contract - even the big 3yr ones - without a surcharge, and keep our number while moving onto a (hopefully) better provider.

    I don't see this happening though... I've never heard of anyone successfully cancelling a contract based on the carrier not meeting their promises.
    • by Foochar ( 129133 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [rahcoof]> on Thursday March 27, 2003 @12:33PM (#5607836) Journal
      If the carrier legitametly did not meet the contract then you would be able to take them to court and be released from the contract. The problem is that they put enough disclamers in the contract that it is almost impossible for them to break the contract as it is signed. They say that service may not be available in all areas, that service may be interupted, etc. etc.
    • In the US, contact the Better Busines Bureau. Make sure that the carrier knows that you're planning to do so.

      Raise a big stink. I signed up for Sprint a couple of years back, because they claimed that they had my city covered. I had to pay an upfront fee for the phone and contract. After having the phone for a week, I decided that the coverage sucked, but when I went to return it, they wanted to keep like $100 worth of my signup fees, and charge me for my week's usage. I told them to go fuck off, and
    • My cell phone(Sprint) dies 10 minutes north of the city I now live in(Portland, ME). So they said they have 'coverage', but it's just one tower in this city, and probably no other towers in the state, so it's useless if I visit friends up north.

      Of course, everyone else's cells work fine, I just had to buy from the one company that doesn't give a crap about the area and doesn't share towers.

      Of course, since I'm too lazy to change my phone number and tell everyone a new number who needs to know it, I stay
  • Not yet??? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vkt-tje ( 259058 ) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @12:25PM (#5607743)
    MNP has been available for quite some time now over here.

    We sure had our load of problems with it, mostly due the vast number of people changing. The operaters just couldn't keep up.

    There is just one problem. Without MNP you allways knew that somebode with a number with the same "network code" as yous was cheap to call. Now you might be calling another network without knowing it (and therefore paying more).

    The operators had to set up a system to let a caller know (with a beep) that he is using another network. (This was demendad by consumer organisations...)

    But in any case, it seems to work fine now.

    Since all mobile operators of more or les the same service, most transfers were purely based on "Price".

    There has been a movent from the more expensive one to the cheaper one, but the net result is apparently insignificant compared to the number new customers (not coming in via MNP)
    • Here in the US, calls all cost the same amount of money regardless of who you call. I've even called people in Canada and not been charged.
      • by sapped ( 208174 )
        Here in the US, calls all cost the same amount of money regardless of who you call. I've even called people in Canada and not been charged.

        Not true. My plan, with t-mobile, allows me to call any other t-mobile caller at any time for free. Phoning other carriers will consume my monthly minutes if used during the week. Thus, with plans like these it's important to know which network you are dialling.
    • I was wondering what the hell that beep was when I called certain people. I was starting to get a little paranoid as he is a shady bastard.

  • Why a fee? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 91degrees ( 207121 )
    Shouldn't the company you're moving to cover this fee? It's in their interests to make sure that new customers don't feel they have to pay anything to switch.
  • Free at last! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by div_2n ( 525075 ) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @12:27PM (#5607779)
    This is a huge win for consumers. This levels the playing field for true competition. It gives us more power to leverage against our carriers.

    Feel like you are getting terrible service? Call customer support and say "I am very unhappy with my service. Can you fix it? No? Ok, I will switch carriers tomorrow. So will my entire family and anyone I know that I can pursuade." That is the benefit.

    I fully expect to see more competitive pricing plans because the entry/exit barrier for carriers have gone down. Of course I also expect to see stiffer penalties in ending contracts early to offset this.
    • Unless you're a prepaid customer, you'll probably end up waiting until your contract ends. Unless you enjoy obscene contract termination fees.
  • by doogieb ( 178045 ) <slashdot.doogiebrodie@com> on Thursday March 27, 2003 @12:29PM (#5607789) Homepage
    In the fledgling days of GSM, UK providers allowed you to port your analogue mobile number over to a GSM phone, but only while staying with the same provider. A few years back they implemented the cross migration of GSM mobile numbers between providers. You are issued with a new temporary mobile number when you buy your new phone on your new provider, and you fill in various paperwork. The new provider then applies to your current provider for permission to release the number - if you haven't paid your bills up to date etc then they wont release it! If all goes well the transfer happens and you can start receiving calls with your old number on your new phone within a month or so.
  • New thing? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Pila ( 48968 )
    Oh, here in italy, for luck (we are the second cell phone market in the world, also dogs, in a moment, have their owns), number portability is a reality from about an year.
    I just switched my work phone from Wind to Vodaphone iwthout any problem. You buy a new SIM and ask for number portability. They give you a "parking numeber" to use your new phone and, about 15 days after, your old numer is transferred on the new company.
    The interesting thing is that phone company offers you everything to keep your old nu
  • Great but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ktorn ( 586456 ) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @12:43PM (#5607925) Homepage
    do we really want to keep the same number of a long time?
    I've had my current number since I first bought a mobile phone, back in 1997. For the past 6 years I've changed/upgraded phones 2 times, and used 3 different service providers.
    All these companies, and no doubt countless others, keep the number in their records, share it, sell it, you name it.
    The amount of spam I get on the mobile is nothing compared to email spam (1:5000?) but it's much more disruptive, because email spam doesn't make my trousers vibrate. The problem is when the price of bulk SMS goes down, a probable thing eventually, enough to make spam a real problem in mobiles.
    It would be far more interesting if network operators let you change the number often, rather than keep it for long periods. That, or letting you have 2 or more numbers, so you give 1 to your family, 1 to your business contacts, and another to give away in on/offline forms, etc (you can do this already if you pay for re-direction numbers, but I'd rather have it as a network service).
    • From some of the comments you made, I assume you don't live in the US.

      However, for those of us who do live in the US, I don't think this would hurt in terms of spam. Firstly, I'm pretty sure it's illegal for them to spam you on your phone since you have to pay for it. Secondly, with the national do-not-call list looking like it will go through, now you would only have to put one number on that list and not have to repeat the process every time you switch numbers.
  • by suntory ( 660419 ) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @12:45PM (#5607939)
    Although portability is good in terms of (personal) freedom, and may produce a more competitive market, expect higher prices when buying new terminals. Heres why:
    1) Mobile phone companies usually offer new phones for less than they pay for the terminals -- no problem, as they know that you wont like to lose your phone number, and therefore they will get a lot of money from you.
    2) If you are able to switch easily to a competitor because you wont lose your number, that means that companies will no longer offer cheap terminals.
    At least, this is what happened in Spain. A couple of years ago, new terminals were quite cheap. When portability arrived, prices rocketed.
    • (I'm assuming you're using terminal and phone interchangably).

      Phone prices in the US aren't cheap now. They appear to be cheap if you sign a long contract, but if you're just looking for a handset they're expensive.

      I don't see why this would change with number portability, since the cheapness of the handset relates to the contract length. Breaking the contract costs money (often several hundred dollars), and even then the handset may not be usable on the network you want to switch to.
    • The companies offer you phones for free but make up for it with higher overall prices once you are locked in. It makes sense for them to tie you into hardware, as American phones are carrier-specific anyway.

      Expect that nokia which you got for free to cost you 100 dollars now. If you figure the phone company is gouging you to the tune of 10 dollars per month due to effectively creating a monopoly pricing market, over the two-year upgrade cycle you have lost 140 dollars on the deal. If you upgrade every 3
    • Low phone prices are tied to long contracts, if prices go up on the phones then customers will start demanding to not be tied to a long contract. If customers aren't tied to a contract _and_ are allowed to take their numbers with them, carriers will be moving people around like a game of 3 card monty... They don't want that, so they'll keep 'bundling' cheap phones with contracts.
    • At least, this is what happened in Spain. A couple of years ago, new terminals were quite cheap. When portability arrived, prices rocketed.

      There are two factors which may mitigate this effect in the US:

      • The companies, in general, require you to sign a one- to two-year service contract.
      • The phones here only work with a single company, so if you switch carriers, you'll incur the expense of a new phone (along with the hassle of re-entering your phone numbers, etc.). Even though the phones are subsidized,
  • In holland this has been common practice for years, although it might take up to three weeks depending on your service provider.
  • by telstar ( 236404 ) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @12:46PM (#5607952)
    While this is a great change in policy regarding number portability, I imagine that what this will also do is increase the obligation of phone customers to sign longer contracts. It's the only thing that will protect a carrier from users infinitely hopping to the best current deal.
  • ignorance is bliss (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unborracho ( 108756 )
    From the Article:

    They argue that nearly a third of consumers already change carriers on a regular basis, and the new rule will only cause the provider-switching phenomenon to grow and, in turn, lead to more loss of customers and more damage to their bottom lines.

    How ignorant can they possibly be? It just means that competition within cell phone companies will be growing, and prices and deals on cell phones/air time will be drastically decreasing because of this. It's only helping to create perfect competi

  • by Rai ( 524476 ) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @12:53PM (#5608003) Homepage
    I know some people who work for a wireless provider who say that wireless companies will be charging ALL customers with a flat service fee to facilitate number portability.
    • Just to be clear, 'wireless companies will be charging ALL customers with a flat service fee' because they're always looking for any excuse to charge more fees and number portability is a reasonable-sounding excuse and a government mandate, their favorite type of excuse.

      I'm not saying it won't cost anything on their part, but they'll probably charge, say, $1 per line per month, which works out to over a billion dollars a year in fees in the US, and it's not going to cost that much.
      • The amount I was told was about $0.32 per month for most states, but it could vary from carrier to carrier. $0.32 seems reasonable to me, but I try not to complain about such things.
  • by Atz ( 173885 )
    In the UK and most of Europe, as others have said, this has been a standard facility since the EU deemed that the telcos were technically able to do this and were putting limits on the freedom of customers who were able to choose a good deal or their old number, but rarely both.

    That said, they do like to get their claws into you other ways. I have a phone with Orange and I'm out of luck if I want to use anyone elses SIM card in it (ignoring the backstreet hackers who will fix it for me) as they lock it to
  • That is precisely the reason why wireless operators are fiercely objecting to this rule.

    If a provider lives up to its promises and offers decent services, the clients are unlikely to change providers. Only those who know they have bad services would want to object. I say this rule is precisely what we need to make the providers do something to improve on their services.
    • From the article:

      "Providers also said the cost for revamping their networks could run as high as $1 billion in the first year alone."

      So this isn't just a policy or "rule" issue... there's one thousand millions reasons in the first year alone why they would object.
  • I work for a company that sells billing and number management software to most of the big cellphone carriers. At this point, the upgrades necessary to support transfering phone numbers from company to company are either in production already or in very late stages of testing.

    In most older systems, the carriers had boxes dedicated to keep a DB with every single phone number they really had access to. Changing this system to support transferring phone numbers between companies was neither cheap nor easy.

  • First of all, in the past you were able to tell which network you are calling by the phone number. If people will keep their numbers while switching back and forth, it will result that I will never ever call a cellphone again. And if they mix also the fixed phone numbers with the cell ones, I might as well terminate my phone contracts. The costs are huge for calls outside your network. Now you won't be able to tell when you are being scalped untill blood fills your eyes...
  • Cool (Score:2, Informative)

    by tetrode ( 32267 )
    Than you'll have the same service as we have in Belgium for more than a year. Welcome to the civilised world :-)

  • Great! (Score:3, Funny)

    by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @01:14PM (#5608162) Journal
    Now we can just give every person a cell-phone number at birth, and they can keep it for their whole lives, and use it like a permanent, worldwide ID.

    Isn't that nifty?
  • by nachoboy ( 107025 ) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @01:15PM (#5608169)
    I spent a few years overseas in the Philippines and rather like the system they have going there.

    Anybody can make the actual cell phone but nearly everyone uses a Nokia. Price varies inversely proportional to the size but phones can be had for around $50 - $100. Buying the phone requires no contract, no ID, no commitment, no hassle, and most of all no forms. Just beg, borrow or steal your way into a phone.

    Once you have the actual phone, it needs a "sim card" to function properly. This is basically just the gold-plated chip you see embedded in smart cards - but it's just the chip. This is the phone's identity - a phone number is associated with the sim card, and it can also store your phone number list and other small tidbits of information. These are usually under $10. They key point is the sim card is made to be user-replaceable. Once again, no activation, contract, or commitment required.

    Sim card goes into back of phone, and all you need are some prepaid cards. There are really only 2 service providers, so you just have to buy a corresponding prepaid card (sold literally on and in between every street corner) from a reseller. When you type the 16-digit code from the back of the prepaid card into your phone, it authenticates and then stores the value onto your sim card.

    The system is great because it's completely anonymous, there are no service fees, and most of all, changing phones is as easy as popping the sim card out of the back and into the new phone. Changing providers requires the purchase of a new sim card (= new phone number) but the competition is so stiff between the two that rates and coverage are virtually identical.

    The major drawback to the system is that since the phone number can be replaced so easily and cheaply (simply buy a new sim card), theft is a major problem. The phones are all GSM phones which is some dumb acronym, but the Filipinos jokingly equate GSM with "Galing sa Magnanakaw" or "coming from a thief," since practically any phone on sale outside of a mall is stolen.
  • by (trb001) ( 224998 ) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @01:30PM (#5608301) Homepage
    I'll bet Sprint is shaking in their boots...they have pretty horrible service, with sections of Fairfax (just west of Washington D.C.) not getting any service at all. There's no reason that in a large, suburban area I should get service drops on my cell phone. Verizon phones don't seem to have this problem, they can get service just about anywhere around this area.

    Were I allowed to keep my phone number, I would have swithced long ago to Verizon's service plans. Considering now Verizon is offering all the things that only Sprint had awhile ago (free long distance, for one) for the same price, I'd definitely switch.

    • Strange. In St. Louis sprint is just about the only network that isn't shoddy. I guess it just depends on when and how well the tower network was designed in that city. Sprint also has a ton of features no body else offers.

      I know of lots of people moving from other carriers to Sprint (including myself soon from at&t), but no one moving away from them. I think it's mostly related to the network quality in that specific area.

  • When I lived in the UK six months ago this was already a reality.

    My company changed 300 cell phones from one provider to another - keeping the old numbers - worked just great.

    Also to do this on your personal number cost around UKP20 =US$30 or so.

    Some information Here [] and Here []

    I know other European and Asia Pac countries have the same sort of agreements in place.

  • Loss of customers? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dimension6 ( 558538 )
    "They argue that nearly a third of consumers already change carriers on a regular basis, and the new rule will only cause the provider-switching phenomenon to grow and, in turn, lead to more loss of customers and more damage to their bottom lines."

    Uhhh .... where does this 30 percent switch to? Other cell phone companies. If they merely switch providers, that means that the industry isn't losing any customers. If people completely stop using cell phones, then the industry loses customers. Also, if the can

  • A few years ago in Japan, they took all the mobile phone numbers (each provider basically had their own area code, at that point), and changed the phone numbers such that EVERY cell phone number began with 090.

    The transition wasn't that difficult for people to adjust to. There was a really simple rule to follow for anyone's number. If it used to begin with 010, for example, the new number would be 090-1-[rest of number].

    The benefit to this is that in Japan, it's *very* easy for people to tell if a phone n
  • I would like to have a cell phone to allow my consulting clients to reach me when I'm away from my office, but I have heard so many horror stories about cell service it is hard to know who to subscribe to.

    If I knew that I could keep my number if I changed providers, I would feel much less reluctant about getting cell service at all.

    The cell carriers are saying that this will cause them a lot of losses, but you have to realize that there is no net loss when someone changes carriers. The only ones who lo

    • There's a way to make the number people use to reach you independent of a specific phone.

      Many land line providers offer a service called "group ringing" or "group hunting".

      Basically, you give out a number for people to call. Calls to that number route to a list of phone numbers to reach you. You progam the list of numbers: your cell phone of the week, office phone, home phone, etc.

      You answer the call on whatever phone you are closet to at the time. The person calling you doesn't notice anything differen
  • Nice, next step are portable E-mail adresses???
  • The Bells out there are making damn sure that no one even brings up the idea of making your home phone number portable to a cell phone.

    Imagine this: IT'S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.

    The phone companies basically run the FCC, they want the cellular carriers to go nuts with this kinda garbage, while they continue to glue their phone numbers to their customers. (and then force you to change numbers if you move down the street)
  • I moved from the UK to the US in 2001, and long before I moved they had this in the UK. Sorry Americans, but you are living in the cell-phone stone-age.

    GSM allows you to buy a new phone like you might buy a new wristwatch, switch over the little GSM card - and you are up and running, no need to phone your provider, and no need to worry about whether a given phone will work with a given service provider. I was able to wander all over the world (except the US, of course) and receive calls on my cellphone.

  • i think this is the first pro-consumer news item of real signifigance that i have seen all year! i thought compassion was for the poor billion dollar a year, monopoly supported companies like sprint and verizon.

    let's all cross our fingers that Powell Jr. is more successful with his negotiations with multi national powers, than his father has been this year.

    personally, i'll believe it when i see it.

  • Number Portability A Bad Idea That You Get To Pay For Anyway


    Number portability was always a bad idea. Everyone here should know of the concepts of IP addressing, routing tables, and DNS. DNS you take with you. You can change your ISP, and all of your IP addresses, but the names (DNS names) of hosts stay the same. IP addresses, such as those who Quest, AT&T, or WCOM might have provided to you, are non portable. You can't take them with you if you leave the provider providing the addresses (unles
  • I've had T-Mobile for over a year now (and my 2nd line is right at a year) so I was thinking of switching. Why? Horrible customer service. The worse.

    So, from what yall know, will I at that date (or hopefully sooner) be able to take my cell phone # with me if I switch? I may have to wait till Nov to switch :(
  • One thing I'm having problems understanding is Why should I even need a number visible on my phone at all? A phone number is an address, not a name, and that's why everyone's having these problems.

    Labelling people with numbers is such a machine-centric view of the world, and with today's technology it shouldn't be necessary. The only reason it's still done is because legacy phone companies use legacy technology and their customers don't know enough about what's possible to demand better.


  • Is the US finaly catching up then? Here in .BE, we have for fixed phones for a few years now, and for mobile phones since about 8 months, without any problems. As a matter of fact, I've changed my mobile provider a few weeks ago. It went very smooth: after I signed the contract with the new provider, we agreed on a date (which was in the contract), and on said date. A few days before the agreed date, I got my new SIM-card. On the actual date, I got a text message telling me to change the sim-card ... I not

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban