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FCC Still Pushing for Number Portability on Nov. 24 378

JediAeryn writes "eWeek.com is reporting the latest on cell phone "number portability." Looks like the FCC is requiring wireless carriers to allow customers to take their numbers with them beginning Nov. 24th. This is all well and good, provided these companies don't throw out more lawsuits to slow the process. My local Verizon store has been giving me the same date for several weeks, but mentioned that other companies are afraid of losing their current customers. My question to the Slashdot community is this: is that a valid concern? Do you plan to switch carriers, and for what reasons?"
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FCC Still Pushing for Number Portability on Nov. 24

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  • by QuasiDon ( 215923 ) on Friday October 10, 2003 @10:33AM (#7182705)
    I am thinking of getting a VoIP service like Vonage soon. I wonder if I will be able to take my cell phone number and transfer it over to that service.
    • Not Yet (Score:2, Funny)

      by ShaggyZet ( 74769 )
      No. Mobile to land line portability is later. Maybe.
    • by sstidman ( 323182 ) on Friday October 10, 2003 @10:53AM (#7182919) Journal
      No, you won't, unfortunately. The FAQ is found at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/numbport.html [fcc.gov]. Although the FCC does not specifically talk about VoIP, here is the answer they provide for portability between land lines and mobile lines:
      Can I Keep the Same Wireline Telephone Number if I Switch My Local Telephone Service to a Cellular or Personal Communications Service (PCS) Telephone Service Provider or Vice-Versa?

      Cellular and other wireless carriers are not required to provide telephone number portability at this time. For this reason, customers cannot retain the same local telephone number if they change their local service from a wireline local telephone company to a wireless carrier, like a cellular or PCS service provider. Likewise, customers cannot switch from a cellular or PCS service provider to a local wireline service provider and keep the same cellular or PCS telephone number.
      At this point in time, the FCC does not regulate VoIP. Some people want that to change, but for now they don't. Therefore the FCC will not be mandating number portability between VoIP and any other phone system anytime soon. And there won't be any voluntary effort to setup NP between VoIP and anything else because it costs money to setup the NP system and the phone companies fear that creating an NP system will result in the loss of customers. In my view, only the phone companies that suck should have to worry about that.
      • Why only the phone companies that suck? All the phone companies could potentially lose customers to VoIP considering the potential for lower bills and potential flexibility with VoIP.
  • by EricTheRed ( 5613 ) on Friday October 10, 2003 @10:34AM (#7182711) Homepage
    We've had this capability in the UK for a few years now.

    Although I've not changed mobile supplier, I know of several people who have without any problems.

    I think here that try to keep you, but in the end as long as you have obtained a PUK code, then they can't stop you from keeping your number and changing supplier.
    • I've some experience of this procedure, and generally it works seamlessly. Furthermore, it seems to stimulate the market (both for the telcos and the handset vendors), rather than damage it.

      It surprises me therefore, that the carriers are fighting this so hard...
    • There is a problem with this in the UK tho, and its fairly well hidden.

      If you transfer your number to another providor, and expect calls to your phone from the same network to be cheaper (eg, orange to orange is usually cheap etc) then you may be suprised.

      Some providors treat these numbers as external to their network, even tho you are on one of their billing plans and make calls via their network. This means that callers to your phone from the same network will get charged higher rates as if they we
  • How about in Canada? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jimmer63 ( 651486 )
    In Canada we're still stuck with changing numbers when we switch carriers. There's no changes planned either. Is my phone number my property or the telephone company's? I can take my home number though with me when I change my home phone company but not my cellular number. This would really be helpful at work. Anyone know of any pending or proposed changes?
  • reception (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kisrael ( 134664 ) * on Friday October 10, 2003 @10:36AM (#7182742) Homepage
    Wasn't too excited by Sprint...reception at my house was always lousy for every service provider, though...we're right by major cell towers. They're right on the other side of that stone hill. (This is in Waltham, a suburb of Boston.)

    But then recently the reception at home for Sprint got perfect...I guess adding towers and coverage is still an ongoing thing? So I think I'll stick with my now...2 or 3 year old phone.
    • I ran into this same problem w/ sprint. I moved out to the suburbs, and they assured me my cell phone would have great service in that area. When i actually tested it out there, I got nothing, I mean nothing, I even tried roaming and got no signal. So I started hassling them, and tried to cancel the contract (w/out incurring the penalty). After several months of complaints I got the tech guys to agree w/ me, and then called up the cancellations number. the woman had the audacity to tell me "We don't gu
    • I live in Newton, right on Chestnut Hill, aka 'Heart Break Hill', and I have AT&T. No reception at my apartment, and I can completely forget about it at my girlfriend's apartment right up the road.

      That said, does anyone know of a good cell phone with an extendible antenna?
      • i use verizon and they have nothing but phones with extendible antennae. their reasoning is that pulling up the antenna makes for better reception and all those phones with non-extendible ones or internal ones don't get as good reception as the verizon phones. makes sense to me. i don't have reception problems unless i'm in a subway (new york) or in the middle of nowhere. otherwise, i at least have some reception and it's usually pretty good.
    • Sounds like you need a cell phone antenna booster! [hyperstand.com] It works! Really! We swear! Putting a flimsy piece of metal behind the battery will make your reception UNBELIEVABLE!

      -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • Forced to change (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Friday October 10, 2003 @10:36AM (#7182743)
    Cell phone companies essentially force you to change carriers every couple of years anyway because of their ridiculous pricing polices:

    You sign up with a carrier and get a good deal that requires a 1 or 2 year contract.

    At the end of that contract you have to switch to a different rate plan.

    All the good (cheap) rate plans are limited to "new subscribers only"

    You're faced with the choice of paying substantially more or switching to a different carrier who is offering good deals to new subscribers.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    • I don't know about that. I've had Sprint PCS for about 3 1/2 years now. I first signed up for a 1 year contract for $34.99/month. After a year, nothing changed. They still charge me the same thing, I didn't have to renew any contracts or anything.

      And even if you decide to quit (at least with Sprint), you'll be immediately transferred to a "Customer Retention Representative" who is ready and authorized to bargain with you. Just give them the terms of the competitor you're thinking about switching to, a
      • This has been pretty much exactly my experience; I use Sprint and have the same plan I had years ago.

        What I'm really hoping that number portability will do is to take away the last disincentive to switch carriers, and force carriers to occasionally offer better promotional deals on new phones as a way to keep the customers they have. My biggest problem with staying with Sprint is how much it costs to upgrade to a new phone, compared to how much it would cost to switch to a new carrier and get a promotional
    • are you kidding??! (Score:2, Informative)

      by snooo53 ( 663796 )
      Who do you have as a carrier? I've been using Sprint PCS for the last couple years and they have never done anything like that!

      In fact, just the opposite. I've been gradually upgrading my plan by continuing my service for another year, and now I must say I have an awesome plan.

      $28 a month, 300 anytime, unlimited nights and weekends (starting at 8pm), free wireless web, pcs->pcs calling. I think it's an awesome deal for the amount I use the phone.

      You know how I got those? I just called the custom

    • AT&T doesn't change your plan or price either at the end of the contract. You get something in the mail saying your contract is up and would you like to sign up for a new one. If you don't you just keep going at your current rate.
    • Bug in the system (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SunPin ( 596554 )
      I've managed to keep my account by turning a perceived disadvantage into an advantage...

      The wonderful advantage agreement... follow me for a second.

      Over time, the value of the termination fee diminishes. If you are using a service for three years, it's likely that you'll use it for four. I happen to have a kickass plan that my unnamed provider keeps trying to separate me from.

      This particular provider allows you to change features on the condition that you agree to a one year extension. Most blind, rab
  • This as been the case in the UK for a year or so. As you would expect, the phone companies have put as many obstacles in the way of changers as they could - even to the extent of shop staff telling outright lies (not saying this is corporate policy, just individual staff).

    But even allowing for this, they hasn't been much churn. Most people "use up" their current phone. When they get a new phone, they may well changfe providers - and put up with the trouble of changed numbers. Those who really don't want th
    • Yes, I did this last year. I'd been with T-mobile (nee One2One) for years, but decided that I wanted a new phone. T-mobile wanted 70 for an upgrade, but O2 would give me the same phone for free if I switched to them. So I did, keeping my old number. It was a fairly painless transition. It seems odd that T-mobile prefered to let a loyal customer switch to another network, rather than give me a new phone for free. Switching networks seems to be an easy way to get a shiny new phone for free AND you get to k
  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Friday October 10, 2003 @10:37AM (#7182750) Homepage Journal
    I'm a consultant and owner of a retail franchise on the side. People need to call me all the time. Even with that priority, I don't understand the fear of having to change my cell phone number.

    I've changed services 3 times in 8 years. Each time I was given a new phone number. All I did was ask the previous cell phone company to cut my minutes to the bare minimum they could, and leave a message on my voice mail saying "I have changed this phone number. Please call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx. Do not leave a voice mail here."

    After 30-60 days (around $20-$40 maximum) I ended the previous service. If someone didn't call me in 60 days, why should I care if they have my number or not? There are so many other ways to get a hold of me (e-mail, postal, even calling up one of my businesses), my cell phone number should NOT be an issue. If they only know my cell phone number and none of my other contact points, I honestly don't care all that much about them (or vice versa).

    I have a few customers right now who are waiting for portability, but I've heard it may cost $3 to $8 a month to keep your old number. This is crazy! Keep the old number for a few months, pay the monthly charges, and do what I've done -- set up your own "new number information" message.

    • In your case, paying for two plans at once during a transition is viable, since it's a big part of your business. But the average person won't want to pay an extra $40-$80 when they change plans.

      So it's not fair to companies who are trying to use superior service to win away customers of other companies, since there's an artifical negative consequence associated with switching to their product.

      I'm glad to see this happen: this legislation removes an artificial negative consequence, in order to keep the m
      • Why would someone who doesn't rely on their cell phone like I do even care if their number changes? If you print your number on your business card, then I am assuming you're using it for business, and paying $40 won't put you back that far. The fact that you will end up paying for the service anyway (maybe forever) shows that a $40 investment up front will save you more than that in the long run.

        There is no need to "keep the market fair." Where is Congress' mandate in the Constitution to interfere in th
      • In your case, paying for two plans at once during a transition is viable, since it's a big part of your business. But the average person won't want to pay an extra $40-$80 when they change plans.

        Yes, but if you're paying 3-8 dollars per month like he says, that ends up being $36-$96 per year, so it ends up being MORE expensive if you keep the same number for a long period of time.

        -- Dr. Eldarion --
    • True, the barrier is more psychological than anything, but knocking it down will still make the cell phone business that much more competitive, which will be a good thing for consumers.

      I suspect that the people most likely to take advantage of this are 1) casual users with a wide number of friends and family for whom changing numbers can be a hassle, and 2) small-business or self-employed users who may have significant stocks of business cards and stationary that they'd have to change otherwise.
    • by MyNameIsFred ( 543994 ) * on Friday October 10, 2003 @10:59AM (#7182982)
      This won't work for everyone. For example, I have a guy I use for painting. He runs his business out of his home, and isn't listed in the phone book. Every couple of years, I give him a call. If he did what you recommended, I would never be able to find him. A loss of business for him.

      My point, for some people in some businesses, your approach is adequate. For others, it is not. And number portability is important. It all depends on how frequently your repeat customers call you.

    • Maybe in your case that worked. I too am a consultant and had two wonderful years of service before this with Cingular. Only time we had a major outage was right after a series of F4 tornado's, and even then it was restored in a couple hours.

      So when it came time to renew last summer, I did. They were switching to GSM, great I've used GSM in Europe for years and was looking forward to SIM cards and other related technologies.

      Well in the last 3 months since I switched, both my fiance and I have had not

    • The very fact that people are willing to go through the hassle, and in this case direct expense to change their number to escape bad service or excessive price increases shows that number portability is needed. For every customer who pays to change or has to give all their contacts a new number there are several who would love to change if they didn't have this hassle and expense.
  • You lot are only 2 years [aca.gov.au] behind us aussies on this one.
  • by Talthane ( 699885 ) on Friday October 10, 2003 @10:37AM (#7182757)

    This has been a feature of both landlines and cellular networks for some time in the UK (I'm not sure about the Continent). Strangely enough, the phone system hasn't collapsed and we still seem to have a working telecommunications infrastructure. *touch wood*

    In fact, what happened was that some customers switched from company A to company B, and some customers switched from company B to company A, and so on. And people were happy. And companies, the good ones anyway, didn't fall apart, so they were happy too.

    I don't know what the motives of the objecting companies are, but perhaps they should think more about the service they're providing - if it's easy for people to switch and they provide a good service, said company could actually benefit.

    • In the UK, Norway (which is where I happen to live and enjoy life) and pretty much the rest of the civiliced world has one major advantage compared to the USA as far as numberportability and free choice in phones go:
      We have a national, unified standard for cellphone infrastructure!
      This means that anyone can (in theory, and if they have enought money) start a telco and start building their own towers - or even piggyback off existing towers (ie; rent exess capacity of the larger telcos), without having to

  • My solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Friday October 10, 2003 @10:39AM (#7182774) Journal
    I use my cell phone as my main business number. It's a real pain when I change providers because I have to make sure everyone gets my new number. It ruins any advertising I've done with it.

    So my solution was to get a 2nd line at my house with NO features at all except CALL FORWARD to my cell phone. I don't even have a phone plugged into it. I give out the phone number on the 2nd line.
    Now I can change cell providers easily and just change the number that gets forwarded to.

  • What this change means is, every time my contract comes up, I can shop around for the best deal all over again. Since I last got a cell phone, my wife has seen how useful they are. So, now I'm going to shop around for one of those family plans, where calls between two particular phones are free and the two phones share a pool of minutes. Now I don't have to care whether that deal comes from Verizon or someone else. And if I can get a better phone than my old StarTAC, perhaps one that works with iSync, a
  • by visionsofmcskill ( 556169 ) <`moc.pmteg' `ta' `noisiv'> on Friday October 10, 2003 @10:40AM (#7182780) Homepage Journal
    I have been using Sprint for three years now and have found their service to be more than lacking, The only thing that has kept me with them is the insanely great number i got from them.... now that number is quite easy to remember and all my friends and family have it, as well i dont even HAVE a land line anymore becuase i have a cable modem at home. Thus i am quite stuck witht the number and have been stuck with sprint in addition.

    I am of course somewhat concerened about switching to another carrier due to the draconian agreements you must sign to get a phone or renew your contract these days (2 years!!!???).... as well as the fact that it appears that ALL the carriers suck ass. I hear complaints about everyone.... T-mobile, ATT, sprint, Verizon, all of them apparently have more issues than i think is fair to the consumer. However sprint is probably the MOST proprietary of them all, with no sim's, and horrid connectivity cards.

    The greatest thing about the number portability beyond the ability to move over to a new service is that this will no doubt FORCE the carriers to compete on a basis of quality of service as opposed to just price vs performance. By giving people an option to switch we should see carriers start to focus on who can provide the most stable AND cost-effective network.

    Not to mention this should give high-speed wireless data a nice shot in the arm with consumers quickly switching over for the faster and more reliable cards.

    • I'm always amazed by the way people obsess over service contracts. Sprint will not cancel your service if you don't sign a new contract when your current one expires. If you don't change your plan at the end of the contract, they just kepp billing you at the same rate. You can cancel at any time for free after this. If you try to change your plan, they'll ask for a contract to get the special rate. But they're perfectly willing to charge you a little more per month ($10) instead of signing a contract. So if
  • I am amazed that it is taking this long to get the number portability issue sort-of rolling. Here in Australia we have had this available to us since September 2001 [aca.gov.au].

    The ACCC [accc.gov.au] (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) here in Australia are the ones who asked for it to happen in the interest of competition.

    If other companies are afraid of loosing their customers then they are obviously not serving them well enough. This sort of thing forces the telcos to provide a better service to their customer
  • Nothing profound to say, but my Sprint service has been pretty decent for the past 5-6 years. I'm sticking there. I couldn't care less about the stupid gee-whiz gizmos that come in phones these days (a camera? games? are you fucking kidding me?). But Sprint has good coverage, and no long distance charges.
    • You know, I always felt the same way. I have to say tho, I have a new ATT phone (a nokia 3595) with mlife and all that crap. The color screen, the polyphonic ring tones, the games... All crap, right?

      The color screen, ok, fine, that's just eye candy.

      The polyphonic ringtones... meh, I like music for my ringtones, so it's nice to have it not sound like crap.

      The games, however, are a lifesaver for me. Whenever I find myself stuck in an airport for a layover, or just have a few minutes I need to kill and I
  • Hostage? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jridley ( 9305 ) on Friday October 10, 2003 @10:42AM (#7182804)
    IOW, some providers have crappy service, and feel that holding their phone number hostage is the only way to keep their customers? That's a pretty sad commentary on their own companies.
  • I've had a phone with Verizon for years. The number spells an easy-to-remember word, and I'm not about to give that up.

    As I see it, the FCC decision puts true market forces into play - I've been locked into Verizon because I couldn't carry the number elsewhere. No longer.

    Do I switch? Possibly. Verizon doesn't work in my apartment, Sprint does. Sprint has cooler phones. It'll all end up depending on who offers me the best combination of price & service.

    Isn't that the way it's supposed to be? Co
  • In a time when most legislation is to protect the company, not the consumer, it's nice to see something like this law.

    They've essentially had a strange sort of monopoly over you, where if you wanted to keep your number, you were forced to use their service and had no other options. Other than the "keep your number" part, that is a CLEAR example of a monopoly for existing customers. It's kind of interesting, from an economics point of view :-)

    I've got a two year contract (bogus!), but I'm happy with Veri
  • I have a Qualcomm 2760 handset. It is 3+ years old now. No fancy color LCD screen, camera, GPS, integrated Palm pilot, or anything else. It has a keypad, a microphone, a speaker, and it lets me store names and numbers. It has been serving me well and I see no reason to change it.

    nTelos sees otherwise, though. First (about 2 years ago) they 'upgraded' their system so that the voicemail button on the keypad no longer worked. "Sir, you should get a new handset if you want that functionality to continue!". No

  • I recently moved from the Boston area up over the border to a small town in New Hampshire (insert cow and/or missing teeth joke here). I work out of my house, so if any provider could offer me good reception on their network from my home, I'd buy on in a heartbeat. Sadly, no provider I'm aware of will let you demo a phone in your home. I'm currently using Verizon Wireless, as of those I've been able to "test" by others' reception issues when they visit my home, Verizon's been the best. My wife has Cingular,
    • by slykens ( 85844 ) on Friday October 10, 2003 @11:00AM (#7182998)
      Give me signal strength out here in the woods, and I'll give you my money

      Not to diminsh your choice of locations to live but UHF and nearly microwave RF doesn't penetrate woods very well. If you're serious about getting good signal inside your house don't expect the mobile carrier to plop a tower nearby to help you out. Get yourself a cellular repeater (about $700) and install it in your house. You indicate that Cingular is fine outside the house, then a repeater would make it fine inside the house.

      I live in the middle of a well populated area and have one bar inside my house and two to three outside. If I place one of these repeaters with a yagi pointed at the local cell I could expect to get 4-5 bars inside my house. Not a bad improvement.

      One place that sells cell repeaters is http://www.jdteck.com/product/phprepeater.htm

  • I know I switched (Score:2, Informative)

    by Gubbe ( 705219 )
    Number portability got into effect in Finland a couple of months ago. Previously I hadn't felt the need to switch my operator, but now that I could keep my number I switched from Radiolinja to Saunalahti. They also supply my DSL so I don't have to pay a separate monthly fee. I pay .11 to .23 cents per minute (depending on destination operator) and only 1,50e per megabyte for GPRS which is cheap compared to my previous operator. Saunalahti also uses Sonera's network which is the best this country has to offe
  • Is to make the damned phones portable from carrier to carrier, not just the number.
    • if you buy a retail phone it will be unlocked

      the phones you get for free are carrier locked cause the carrier is picking up the tab in hopes you will stay a customer and make it up in use

      its not a hard concept ;)

      phones arent really 50$, try 500$
      • Not necessarily. Different providers use different access methods.

        IIRC, Cingular & T-Mobile are GSM, AT&T is TDMA, and Sprint & Verizon use CDMA.

        So the phone radio electronics are different.

        DISCLAIMER: My data may be off...
  • After my problems with Cingluar, part of the problem is the handset I have is a piece of junk the other is with their new GSM still flickering on and off and I am glad at least I have a dual tech phone (GAIT), I cannot wait to switch. My Fiance and I both rely on our Cell's as our only phone since we are both consultants, me technology to small businesses and her Wedding Planner, and depend on people actually being able to get in touch with us for our living. I was ready to pay the termination fee, but re
  • That is where I see cell phone companies not wanting you to take your number with you for. Yes, my private cell phone number could be changed super easy. Tell my friends, family, and maybe one or two other people.(I no longer have a personal cell, but I used to switch it every year) But my work phone is another deal entirely. It has been several weeks and I have sent out emails to everyone here at work, updated our company directory, updated the Exchange listing, and updated the helpdesk. I also have v
  • After 3 rings on my home phone it forwards to my mobile.
    I just give people my home phone number.

    Vonage forwarding is free and you can set the number of rings etc. on their web site

    This way I can change mobile numbers and no one knows
  • We've been doing this for a few years, mandated by Oftel (the occasionally useful telecoms regulator). The networks kicked up a fuss at first but eventually realised they could find other ways to screw money out of their customers. In practice I hear the transfer process is quite slick, only takes a couple of weeks, and is free.
  • My local Verizon store has been giving me the same date for several weeks, but mentioned that other companies are afraid of losing their current customers. My question to the Slashdot community is this: is that a valid concern?

    Well they're already charging you a number-portability fee. And most carriers have been charging the fee for months.

    And even after they've paid off the cost of the number portability system (and let's face it, it's a database -- how expensive can it be?) they'll continue charging
  • By making the numbers portable, users will not put up with screwy pricing or bad service if they can move. That said what will happen is that as a company get a good rep for better pricing, enough users will leave to make the network that is losing subscribers to match. You will get the fairly equal pricing that you get in the airlines these days. Also, as users switch they will overburden the "good" providers bringing their service down and bringing up everyone elses. It really means that the phone com
  • The companies that are worried about losing their customers have every reason to be. The ones that are worried are most likely the ones that know that needing to keep their number is the only thing keeping customers around. The only way to keep them around after number portability kicks in is to *gasp* improve the quality of their service. Why do you think they are fighting it?

    Which is the whole point. Number importability is a way for telcos to lock you into using their service. And someday -- someda
  • I'm changing...

    Why? Because I'm sick of all the places with no service.

    I live in the West SF Valley, and except for the area immediately around my house, there's no signal... (For LA residents, the no signal area appears to be between Woodlake and Shoup (E-W boundary) and Ventura and Vanowen (N-S boundary).

    Oddly, this only started in the last month or so.

    And it's not just locally, too. Seems like everywhere I go, people are chatting on phones, and I get no signal, or signal level of 1. It's ridiculo
  • They should be afraid if they charge me a monthly fee - more than a quarter or two - for the 'privilege' of this service. Assuming telco service is a commodity item (some more than others), one of the key differentiators will be what does it cost to maintain your old number with this new service. Looks like AT&T tacks on a fee already.

    Course they could collude rather than compete... nah... what are the odds of that happening?
  • And the CRTC in Canada continues to lag behind in mobile number portability. Anyone know if they are planning to follow suit?

    A google search revealed Mobile number portability [intug.net] page on The International Telecommunications Users Group (INTUG) [intug.net] site.

    Here is their position paper on numbering [intug.net] which supports portability.
  • Because I need this phone number-- it's been my only contact at points, and there are people that I no longer talk to that do not have any other way to contact me.

    I plan on changing providers because I'm tired of fighting my provider's bad coverage in my area. I used to not be able to get reception at my house or place of work-- meaning 90% of the day I was out of contact anyway.

    Well, there's also the nokia 3360 which was an issue. I managed to destroy mine quite thoroughly, then brought it in to take a
  • That vision service blows. SMS on Sprint phones blows even more - I mean, what's up with sending you an SMS message to tell you that you have a SMS message that you have to go read on a web page? Worse yet, what is up with having to send a SMS message from a web page? Sprint did their entire data thing so half assed it ain't even funny. So I went with T-Mobile and a Sidekick.

    Would not have minded keeping my old PCS number, but it is really no big deal to me. Not many people had the number anyway, even thou
  • I'm looking forward to switching away from my sprint service mostly because dealing with their customer service, when you can actually talk to a person, is a pure nightmare. Anyone recommend an alternative with a decent CS perspecive?
  • but is the thought of a cellphone company losing customers something that the FCC should care about. With the current free-market-at-all-cost mentality in this country why would the FCC do anything to help force people to use one company over another.

    The bottom line is that it is good for consumers to have the freedom to change carriers and bad for carriers to allow consumer to change more easily. Of course, the phone companies can just do a better job then their competitor and they won't have to worry ab
  • I don't plan on changing providers neciscarily. I do, however, plan on getting a new phone subsidy and a cheaper plan from my current provider. Specifically, I want the $150 discount on the Treo 600 even though I've been a Sprint customer for 4 years already and will certainly not be having a "new activation". Of course, if they won't buy my loyalty I'll switch....

    I expect that service contracts will be more strictly enforced after this goes into effect. I'm glad I'm not bound by any annual agreement.
  • Of course it will cost companies customers. Not only in general, but there's going to be a hellish period where, I'm going to guess, millions of people suddenly switch companies in late November. I know a lot of people who are unhappy with their current companies and are simply waiting until November to move companies.

    I recently switched companies (and consequently phone numbers) and it was a little bit of a hassle, but it was neccessary. If I hadn't been forced to switch due to a truly horrible nationa
  • I've had 6 different cellular numbers in the last 2 years. Very often with two cell phones at once. First I just had a personal one, then I switched to a different personal carrier, then I got one my company paid for. Then I cancelled my personal phone. Then my work switched carriers, so I got a new phone again. Then I got a phone from my workplace (I was a Government contractor: first phone was from the company I was employed with, the second from the place I was contracted to). So I had two work phones. B
  • Number Portability (Score:3, Insightful)

    by freebase ( 83667 ) on Friday October 10, 2003 @11:13AM (#7183146)
    I wouldn't hold my breath for Nov 24th. There's a significant number of techinical issues that have yet to be worked out, that the FCC has conviently ignored.

    Can the wireless carriers implement number portability? Yes... Will it break a bunch of a stuff if they do? Yes again.

    One of the most significant things that still has to be addressed is exactly how, who, and when the PSAP databases get updated. For those of you not up on telco terminology, the PSAP database is what 911 uses to locate you by your caller-id info.

    Of course, the major issue with the carriers has to do with increased billing costs. Each carrier (wirelines and wireless) has their areas divided into rate centers. These are typically, but not always, associated with NPA-NXX numbers. Visit NANPA [nanpa.com] for more info on NPA-NXX.

    Moving numbers between carriers will mess with the rate centers severely, for awhile anyway, and cause much confusion between carriers in relation to call termination charges, etc.
  • I've used Verizon now for ten years, and although they're not exactly God's gift, I haven't had any problems with them, personally. So I won't be switching. But I do know others, especially contractors (construction, electrical, etc.), who use Nextel phones because of their (annoying) walkie-talkie feature but, at the same time, hate Nextel with a passion because of their poor customer service and limited coverage area. (We live five miles from Ground Zero (Washington, D.C.), and in our 'hood Verizon pho
  • This will ease one of the major hassles of switching cell phone service. And thus, people wont be locked into their current, potentially exploitive calling plan. Just in case you were confused, lock-in is not healthy for capitalism.

    My favorite part of the article:

    "The commission still has not answered some basic implementation questions," said Tom Wheeler, president of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. "The FCC has simultaneously managed to tie the industry's hands and hold our

  • When I signed up for what was Cellular One but is now AT&T, all of the reviews I could find said that for my particular area (the always-difficult area around the Santa Cruz Mountains near Silicon Valley), Cellular One was the best bet.

    Of course, my service was crappy, and of course Verizon started making great strides in my area. Now literally everyone I know who has had a cell phone for more than three years in this area is using Verizon. Friends have tried Sprint and T-Mobile, but they all wound up

  • ...and not getting it? There's a charge on my telephone bill every month for "phone number portability." When it appeared, I called my carrier (Verizon) to ask what it was. They said it was to pay for whatever the phone companies needed to do in order to enable me to change carriers without changing phone numbers.

    But when I wanted to change my cell phone carriers they told me I couldn't keep my number.

    Why not? What have I been paying for all these years?
  • I've been with AT&T Wireless for two years. My contract is up at the end of this month, and I'm planning to switch to Verizon. I live southwest of Boston; and although my coverage is fine in the city, my coverage is bad/non-existent within about a four-mile radius of my house. It's really quite frustrating, not to be able to place calls while I'm running local errands.

    My mother, on the other hand, has been using Verizon for the same period of time, and has no problems with her reception. It's too bad,

    • I currently have Verizon service. When my contract expires in mid march of next year, i fully intend on changing to a bluetooth enabled phone. I was speaking with the Verizon rep the other day, and he told me that there arent enough people asking for bluetooth phones for them to invest in that technology, and provide those phones. The kicker of the situation was when he told me that we have a bluetooth headset! gah.

      I honestly dont care about the camera-phone aspect (AT&T has a nice bluetooth phone w
  • Heck yeah. I was able to pick a number that spelled something pretty cool (www.phonespell.com) and easy to remember with my first carrier. I recently decided to get a second phone (because of contract lock-in and service dissatisfaction with my first) so now I'm paying for two phones.

    With Sprint (my second carrier) I had to choose my number twice with the store personnel (his mistake) only to be informed by a second assistant (the one on the phone activating my service) that my number was yet a third. S
  • (minor rant WARNING)

    companies are afraid of losing their current customers. My question to the Slashdot community is this: is that a valid concern?

    No it is not! The amount of US businesses that are taking a legal road to hold on to customers is sickening. This is anti-inovation. Wasn't there something about free-trade in this country? I always asumed that was a two way street, where new companies where allowed to coexist next to esthablished companies AND customers where allowed to make their own free c
  • because they dont support Sony Erricson phones. I wish it was like europe, any phone on any network, just slip out the simm card and your done, but noooooooooooooo, the fucking money grubbing US corporations couldnt do that, that woudl be good for the consumer, fucking Sprint, FUCK YOU!


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