Looking At Hong Kong's Number Portability Lessons

The story of the day, of course is all about local number portability going into effect. Dan Gillmor has an article looking at how number portability impacted Hong Kong, which introduced the practice in 1999. Turns out that it did exactly what most hope will happen in the US: it increased competition among carriers, pushing down prices while increasing service levels. While there were a few glitches at first, it’s worked out fine, and the big fear in the industry of constant, massive customer churn has failed to appear. Of course, there’s no guarantee that things will go the same way in the US, where there are a lot more customers to deal with, a lot more trouble spots, and a ton of pent up demand to change. However, it does suggest that after the initial hiccups are out of the way, number portability could actually be a good thing for the industry. In Hong Kong, it helped to increase mobile phone penetration from 45% to over 99% today.

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