FCC Finally Comes Through With Number Portability Rules

from the took-'em-long-enough dept

It’s been pretty clear that many of the wireless carriers in the US have been dragging their feet on the issue of local number portability – which is supposed to go into effect in 49 days. However, they have had a legitimate complaint that the FCC has been incredibly slow in giving them answers to a number of their questions in the form of “guidelines”. Now, as we reach the final sprint towards number portability, the folks at the FCC have finally decided to let the carriers (and consumers) know what they expect when number portability goes into effect. They say that carriers should be allowed to let customers switch, even if their bills aren’t paid up (something carriers argued vehemently against) and that it shouldn’t take any longer than 2 and a half hours to have the number switched (which will upset Cingular – who keeps tossing out “one week” as a more reasonable timeframe, knowing that it would scare customers off). However, they completely skipped over the big question that everyone was asking: should wireline carriers be forced to move their numbers to wireless carriers as well. There had been a wire report a few weeks ago – widely misquoted – suggesting that the the FCC had already said this would be the case. However, without that being put down in writing it looks like it’s still up to the wireline companies to decide for themselves (meaning most won’t do it). As expected, the CTIA was quick to respond, saying that these rules are terrible, don’t answer enough of the questions, and are only going to lead to more problems.

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