• United States
Contributing Writer

Mailbag: Portability isn’t enough

Sep 10, 20033 mins
Cellular NetworksNetwork Security

* Your thoughts on wireless number portability

Judging by the responses to my recent newsletter on wireless number portability, service providers shouldn’t be shaking in their boots just yet. A lot of readers said they’d rather see the service providers spend their time on other things like quality, rather than portability.

“I do like the idea of just one number,” says a system analyst. “But [I] would much prefer a focus on existing infrastructure reliability and quality not the continued addition of – and this may be just a little harsh but – what I consider marketing bell and whistle features to sell products.”

He adds: “So is it assumed or fact that number portability will improve the bottom line? As a customer, I for one have not seen nor been able to develop a solid business justification.”

An IT manager for a construction company says portability is a nice-to-have, but not a must-have. “More importantly for us [are] the various plans and options that we can take advantage of with different providers,” he says. “We have asked [our service provider] repeatedly for a better plan for a midsize company with 130 phones and nothing to date has changed. This will make the providers compete with various plans to attract users that are willing to switch.”

Another reader puts out his wish list. “What do I want from my cell provider?” he says. “Lower rates, an ability to swap phones at pro-rated costs at any time and better service in areas where their signal’s weak or non-existent.”

However, some customers say that they await portability to get a leg up on cell phone providers. “My organization has sales people across the country with individual calling plans across multiple providers,” a reader says. “Trying to get them to change their numbers would be impossible, and not at all desirable because of the potential loss of customer contact.”

He adds: “However, I know that we are paying at least 100% more in wireless costs because we are so diversified in our contracts. I plan to be an early-mover when portability arrives, because even with the potential headaches of moving, I stand to save my company a significant amount of money. As for my current primary provider, they say that we don’t have enough volume to justify steep discounts. I guess they would rather see me leave than to provide me with any savings.”

 “I fully believe that I can get a better deal with my current provider if they are aware that I can change my service at will and still keep my number,” another respondent says. “The power will soon belong to the customer and not the cell phone provider.”

Another puts it frankly: “I will switch in a second. I have been handcuffed to a provider to keep my number for 10 years.”

What do you think? Let me know at