by Carlo Longino

Number Portability Benefits Switchers And Non-Switchers Alike

from the 1-2-switcheroo dept

A new analyst report says that consumers worldwide haven't reaped the benefits of mobile number portability, mainly pointing to the low numbers of users that have taken advantage of it. In the US, for instance, just 5 percent of mobile users have switched operators and taken their number. There's a host of reasons for the low figures, ranging from ineffective enforcement of MNP rules by regulators to operators' reliance on long-term contracts, but there's a theoretical problem with the report, and it's a question we've asked before: do users need to switch operators to see the benefits of number portability? The answer, really, is no. MNP's most obvious goal is to let people "own" their phone number, but a bigger point is that it removes a competitive obstacle in the market, and forces operators to compete on other factors, rather than the brute force of dissuading people from switching because they'd have to change numbers. This should increase overall competition in the market, but on meaningful metrics like price and service, and that's something that benefits everyone, not just those who switch providers.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    adam, 22 Jan 2007 @ 5:38pm

    and some can't port

    I tried to port my numbers from US Cellular this past weekend to Sprint. I was unable to do so because Sprint was not allowed to issue me numbers for my town. Sprint does not have a store in my town, but I do get reception there just fine, so now I have a choice. Cancel my US Cellular plan and keep the new sprint numbers, or cancel my Sprint trial and try a different company...sigh... --adam

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BikeRanger, 22 Jan 2007 @ 6:04pm

    Customer service?

    I switched from Verizon to Cingular in November 2005, keeping a number I'd had with V. for 7+ years. It took about an hour (Oregon).

    For me, the competition was very much about "other factors." In my case, I was fed up with V's billing problems and I wanted easier European travel (GSM).

    Yep, Cingular has plenty of issues too, but so far I've been lucky. Of course I would have switched even if I'd lost my number.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Vaximily, 22 Jan 2007 @ 11:14pm

      Re: Customer service?

      Verizon's network is much stronger than Cingular's. Verizon / Sprint's EV-DO is at LEAST 5x faster than Cingular (Soon to be ATT Mobile) and T-Mobile's EDGE network. If data services are anyone's interest, Verizon or Sprint is your best bet.

      As for GSM, it may be a "worldwide" standard, but it's based on the older TDMA (as opposed to CDMA that Verizon and Sprint Use) and it is quickly a dieing technology. I wouldn't be suprised to see Cingular begin to move to CDMA in the near future.

      Or you could always go with Nextel... one Nextel tower covers the area of about 2 Sprint / Verizon Towers and the range of about 4 Cingular towers. (This is how Cingular can claim they have the largest coverage network... it's not based on actual coverage, but on the number of towers they have up).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jason Airlie, 23 Jan 2007 @ 5:42am

    I've switched.

    I've switched twice. The first time almost immediately after the portability rules came into effect.

    I've always switched more to be on the same plan as friends and coworkers whom I call the most, than for service or coverage reasons (although they were a factor).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    chris (profile), 23 Jan 2007 @ 1:57pm

    i've switched 2-3 times

    i ported my personal cell number (cingular) over to my work cell (VZW), that took half a day because of all of the hiccups associated with transfering a number from a private party (me) to a corporation.

    when i switched to VZW we switched my wife as well (cingular to VZW) and that only took an hour.

    i am also in process of porting my VOIP number from Lingo to VIATalk, tho they say it can take upto 20 business days.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.