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Verizon Drops Opposition To Cell-Number Portability

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the you-can-take-it-with-you dept.

Wireless Networking 308

EyesWideOpen writes "Verizon has announced (NYTimes - free registration required) that it would drop its opposition to the proposed F.C.C plan that would allow callers to keep their wireless phone numbers when they switch carriers. Verizon, the nation's largest mobile phone company, was seen as 'the standard-bearer of the opposition against wireless number portability' but has shifted it's position citing the recent court ruling as the reason for doing so. The F.C.C has set a deadline of November 24 for it's rules to take effect. Other mobile phone companies such as Cingular Wireless and AT&T Wireless are still expected to appeal the court ruling. Several previous stories on number portability here(1), here(2), here(3), here(4), and here(5)."

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Free the phone numbers! (4, Interesting)

frieked (187664) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293776)

Finally... I'm so sick of having to either change my phone number or pay higher rates every year when my contract runs up. Now when there's a better calling plan for me I can take my phone number with me so I don't have to give a new number out to 700 different people :D

Maybe now instead of holding our phone numbers hostage, the phone companies will actually have to offer better plans to keep our business. Mmmmm more minutes for less money = more money for beer... Mmmmm beer.

Re:Free the phone numbers! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293793)

are you glad you subscribed and thus obtained the fr1st p0st with such an idiot meaningless comment or do you just think you had to fill that gap here and thus accelerate your Simonikeri [goatse.cx] zation ?

Re:Free the phone numbers! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293868)

you're just jealous
-1 flamebait/offtopic

Re:Free the phone numbers! (5, Informative)

svallarian (43156) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293889)

No doubt!

Seems like the contracts get worse each and each year. I've been with my provider (Cellular South) for about 5 years, and am still under a contract that gives:
100 "anytime" min a month
free incoming calls
unlimited nights and weekends (at 7pm - not 9pm)
for 29.95

Now, don't get me wrong, Celluar South's billing is the worst i've ever seen, I haven't even received a bill in the last 3 years (DON'T sign up for their online billing--it doesn't really exist and then they can't get you back to paper-bill land), but as long as I can remember to use their convoluted automated credit card payment, it's really not a problem.

Re:Free the phone numbers! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293891)

big fucking deal. Don't use a cell phone. They are worthless. Stop continuing the fucking cell phone culture non-sense.

STAY OUT OF TOUCH WITH PEOPLE. It works.

Re:Free the phone numbers! (2, Informative)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293940)

This will also be huge for people who either move or change jobs, thus potentially changing the coverage that they normally get. When I switched jobs from the east side to the west side of Indianapolis, my coverage changed for the worse - I can't wait for the opportunity to change carriers...

Here's the story, no registration... (1, Informative)

jbottero (585319) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294007)

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/128055_port ability25.html

Re:Free the phone numbers! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6294022)

the real reason is that the FCC said number portability works both ways and you can move your home phone number to your cell phone. This will be huge fro the cell compaines in competing with LECs.

Re:Free the phone numbers! (4, Insightful)

swordboy (472941) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294140)

Finally... I'm so sick of having to either change my phone number or pay higher rates every year when my contract runs up.

What about the *hardware*? It would be nice if the gov't dropped the campaign donations in favor of legislation requiring compatible hardware on all networks. If I change my carrier, then I need to buy a new phone. That isn't a big deal if you've got entry-level hardware but some of these more elaborate gadjets pretty much lock you into the carrier unless you are willing to eat the cost of buying a comparable replacement.

Right now, I just wish that the cellular carriers would provide hardware to plug into my house POTS wiring. I subscribed to Ameritech/SBC for only two months before I realized that their customer inservice was not going to work for me. This was prior to the monopoly on local phone carriers. At the time, it made sense to swap to cellular and I've never had a problem but it would be nice to have a regular phone system at home. It would be nice if I could just put my cell phone on a docking station/charger when I came home and calls could ring into the home system.

I'm just glad to be without SBC/Ameritech. I've never hated a business with such passion.

Re:Free the phone numbers! (1)

Computer! (412422) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294188)

I can take my phone number with me so I don't have to give a new number out to 700 different people

When are they going to start doing this for POTS lines? Everytime I move from one side of Dallas to the other, my phone number changes!

Re:Free the phone numbers! (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294307)

If yer moving so often, why bother with a pots line?

I know what to do!!! (5, Funny)

bytes256 (519140) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293782)

Re-write the cell-phone numbers in Java...dial once, talk anywhere or something like that, isn't that why they're putting Java on all the phones?

Silly asses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293828)

Why can't these moronic telco fuckers use DNS?!!!

Re:I know what to do!!! (5, Funny)

Talking Goat (645295) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294092)

From cell-phone provider training manual:

"Number portability? Silly customer, why are you harping on that? We know what you really want... LOOK!! It's a widdle wormy-worm! You steer him around, it's a fun game! Oh, now look!"

::Usher customer out front door::

Cell Phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293783)

With SBC's massive marketing force, I don't see how in the world this will ever go through.

for the registration impeded... (4, Informative)

da5idnetlimit.com (410908) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293785)

nopass:nopass

article text (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293786)

June 25, 2003
Verizon Quits Fight on Rule for Cellphone Numbers
By MATT RICHTEL

Verizon Wireless said yesterday that it would drop its opposition to a government plan to allow callers to keep their wireless phone numbers when they switch carriers. The about-face by Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest mobile phone company, probably means that some other mobile phone operators will have little choice but to yield to the arrangement.

Verizon, which has led a protracted, industrywide effort to prevent the Federal Communications Commission from requiring that cellphone numbers be portable from provider to provider, said it now supported F.C.C. rules scheduled to take effect on Nov. 24 and would end its legal and legislative campaign against them.

Several competitors in the wireless industry said they were surprised by Verizon's announcement and would continue to fight against the changes even without Verizon's cooperation. The industry has argued that the F.C.C. lacks the legal authority to impose portability, and that carrying out the rules would cost it hundreds of millions of dollars.

But in a speech yesterday in New York at a conference for industry analysts, Dennis Strigl, the president and chief executive of Verizon Wireless, said it was time for mobile phone carriers to "stop moaning and groaning" about the portability requirement.

Mr. Strigl said the timing of the announcement was related to a decision earlier this month by a federal appeals court rejecting the industry's argument. The wireless companies contended that the portability requirement was not necessary to protect consumers. "The case was lost in court and now it's time to get on with providing customers with what we believe they want," Mr. Strigl said in an interview. "We're wasting too much time on this."

Roger Entner, a wireless industry analyst with the Yankee Group, a market research firm, characterized Verizon's change in policy as "a 180-degree turn" that removed the single biggest obstacle to portability.

Verizon, he said, had been "the standard-bearer of the opposition against wireless number portability." And now it has "basically turned into the biggest proponent," he said.

Mr. Entner added that Verizon appeared to shift because the legal and legislative options were running out and it did not want to seem like a sore loser. "This means there is no major opposition on the carrier side to portability," he said.

That conclusion was echoed by Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, who has been pressing the Senate to support portability and reject the wireless industry's delaying efforts. "It pretty much ensures that by November there will be portability," Mr. Schumer said, noting that Verizon had been particularly aggressive in lobbying Congress to prevent the F.C.C. from imposing the requirement.

Mr. Entner and other industry analysts say portability will increase the number of customers who switch wireless carriers â" a trend that is already common and costly to the industry. Of the 145 million cellphone subscribers at the end of March, 40 million to 45 million will switch carriers this year, Mr. Entner said. If portability were in place, 10 million to 12 million more could be expected to switch, he said.

Mr. Entner predicted that the cost to the industry of portability would be $2 billion annually for subsidizing new handsets, activating service and paying sales commissions.

The F.C.C. has maintained that portability will be good for competition. But last July, at the industry's urging, it agreed to delay the effective date of the regulations until this coming November. It was the third such delay by the commission.

Jennifer Bowcock, a spokeswoman for Cingular Wireless, one of the companies that said they would continue to resist the requirement, said Cingular opposed portability because there were more important matters the industry should spend money on, like investments in building the wireless network.

Mark Siegel, spokesman for AT&T Wireless, said the company would press ahead with an appeal of the recent court ruling. Verizon's decision "doesn't change the fact that number portability is bad public policy," he said.

But the move may not be at all bad for Verizon, according to industry analysts. While the company has spent $50 million to prepare its system for portability, it may wind up gaining more customers than it loses, said Blake Bath, a wireless industry analyst with Lehman Brothers. Mr. Bath said Verizon had high customer satisfaction rates and was in "a great position" to capitalize on the dissatisfaction of customers who are signed up with its competitors and could be enticed to switch.

Re:article text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293807)

Is it really necessary to mirror a NYtimes article?
I don't think it's really /.able

Re:article text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293932)

no registration required if it is copied and posted here, tough guy

Re:article text (3, Insightful)

Bluetrust25 (647829) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294336)

> no registration required if it is copied and posted here, tough guy

Then this is just copyright infringement. Articles are mirrored to help the publisher's servers cope with the press of requests that a slashdot mention brings. It's a good thing, because the publisher continues to have his content delivered to interested readers. However, mirroring an article just to get around a publisher's terms -- that's theft.

second post (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293789)

Ooga-booga!

yeah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293790)

first post

yeah... FAILURE! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293871)

Here's a haiku to help commemorate your failure.

in mother's basement
failure is your middle name
just end it all now

Re:yeah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293880)

you wish gheywad

HIT CTRL-C NOW!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293898)

Intelligent Updater:
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Virus Definitions released June 24
Norton AntiVirus Corp. Edition:
Defs Version: 50624d
Sequence Number: 23390
Extended Version: 6/24/2003 rev. 4
Total Viruses Detected: 64183

Good..? (0, Interesting)

Darth Fredd (663620) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293800)

..that its complying? How is this news? I mean, whats the worst Verizon can do to the gov? Would someone enlighten me, here?

Re:Good..? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6294120)

The fine for not complying is less than the cost of implementing the changes required by the government for some companies. Sprint has no plans to comply. If they did they would lose all of their customers because THEY SUCK ASS.

IMPEACH BUSH (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293805)

where are the WMD's?

Iraq was an imminent threat? What..were they going to ship over Scud missles and launch them from Florida?

Above is offtopic Troll... (0)

JohnnySkidmarks (607274) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293998)

...but I'll bite. Dude the easiest way to get mod'd down on Slashdot is to say ANYTHING against the U.S. government;
The U.S. Governement, mind you, NOT the people of the United States of America, who are by the way, mostly very nice folks (I know I'm a Canadian)
So why do you get mod'd down on /. for saying things about the U.S. government? I can't say, but I'm guessing it's just ignorance... or blind stupid patriotism.

er...my point exactly (0)

JohnnySkidmarks (607274) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294035)

Actually his post get wiped because it was sooooo offtopic (talking about lack of weapons of mass destruction and Bush's credibility), but now mine looks Extra offtopic... Doh!

Re:er...my point exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6294080)

wtf the fuck are you talking about?? it's still there.

ass

Re:IMPEACH BUSH (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6294233)

"Nixon and Clinton escaped criminal prosecution for burglary, perjury and obstruction of justice. George W. Bush, however, stands accused as the greatest mass murderer in American history. The Lexington Institute estimates that the U.S. killed between 15,000 and 20,000 Iraqi troops during the fraudulently justified invasion of Iraq, plus 10,000 to 15,000 wounded. More than 150 U.S. soldiers were killed, plus more than 500 injured. A new Associated Press study of Iraqi civilian casualties confirms at least 3,240 deaths. Although Bush, Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice denied such legal niceties to the concentration-camp inmates captured in their illegal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, these high-ranking Administration henchmen should be quickly turned over--after impeachment proceedings for what might properly be called Slaughtergate [google.com] --to an international tribunal for prosecution of war crimes."

Obviously a move to gain customers (4, Insightful)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293815)

It's obviously a move to gain consumer support and get customers to switch. Now that they've got their opposition fighting the FCC, they can say: "Look, we're the biggest PROPONENTS of cell number portability, and our competition is still fighting it. So switch to us!"

I'm sick to death cell carriers and their sleaziness -- it's like the long distance carrier battles of the 90s all over again. You guys offer a commodity product, compete on price because nothing else differentiates you anymore.

Re:Obviously a move to gain customers (5, Insightful)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293879)

Not necessarily.

Nextel offers the two way walkie talkie feature. Are other providers going to implement this? Some people need it, others don't.

Also, not all providers have the best coverage. Here in Boston, Sprint's coverage drops easily. Verizon easily dominates the coverage in this area.

Those are 2 items that can differentiate what provider you go with. I'm sure there's a few others.

It's not a commodity, yet.

Re:Obviously a move to gain customers (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293945)

Here in Boston, Sprint's coverage drops easily. Verizon easily dominates the coverage in this area.

Which Boston do you live in?

Re:Obviously a move to gain customers (1)

alen (225700) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293995)

You must have the T720 phone then. I have an old Startac 7868 and it works great in NYC with Verizon. My girlfriend has a T720 on Verizon and her signal is always dropping. We could be sitting side by side and my phone will get a better signal all the time.

Re:Obviously a move to gain customers (2, Funny)

haystor (102186) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294082)

Boston, Texas.

Re:Obviously a move to gain customers (1)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294108)

Boston, Massachusetts ;)

LOL @ Nextel (5, Informative)

appleLaserWriter (91994) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294001)

Nextel is a great example of marketing a technically inferior product as superior. And they seem to be successful at it.

The Push To Talk function takes a perfectly good full-duplex cell phone and turns it into a half-duplex walkie-talkie. They even give you a thicker and heavier phone to keep up the illusion!

Nextel fans like to point out that PTT is built into the IDEN network, and other carriers can never offer such a feature. TMobile, however, offers unlimited mobile to mobile calling for $10. You get full duplex all the way with TMobile.

two way walkie talkie feature (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6294036)

Yes, other providers are going to implement it. Sprint and Verizon have already announced their plans (http://news.com.com/2100-1033-984780.html?tag=mai nstry) as has AT&T (http://infoworld.com/article/03/02/26/HNattsprint _1.html)

Providers other than Nextel are referring to it as "Push-To-Talk (PTT or P2T)".

Re:two way walkie talkie feature (1)

Adam9 (93947) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294138)

Correct, Verizon will be launching it to business customers either July 1st or August 1st (mixed rumors), but the PTT network (push-to-talk) is up and running using Verizon's 1xRTT. Later this fall, PTT will be available to consumers.

Re:two way walkie talkie feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6294192)

What benefit does PTT exactly provide? I never understood why it would be better to use a walkie talkie over a cell phone.

Re:two way walkie talkie feature (1)

Artemis P. Fonswick (680020) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294280)

From what I understand, if you use PTT you won't have to drive your daughter's shitty VW to a meeting.

Plus everyone gets the benefit of hearing both sides of your inane conversations because you're too stupid to realize you can use the PTT feature without treating your cellphone like an actual walkie-talkie.

Re:Obviously a move to gain customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6294116)


Also, not all providers have the best coverage. Here in Boston, Sprint's coverage drops easily. Verizon easily dominates the coverage in this area.


Same in Kansas City; which happens to be the home of Sprint!
Pretty sad when a large telco is hated in their own home town.

Re:Obviously a move to gain customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6294302)

Verizon Wireless (and I believe MCI) will be offering "Pust to Talk" by the end of the year- Verizon is supposed to have it available by August.

I've never seen the benefit of this service, but some people actually like it.

Re:Obviously a move to gain customers (1)

iamsyn (684399) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293924)

In .au when MNP (mobile number portability) there was a rush to change carriers, service offerings were changed (free text messages, first 20mins free etc). Now, a year to so later everything has calmed down, service providers have eased off on the special deals and I believe that most Telcos are no worse off in subscriber levels for the GSM (as opposed to CDMA) services they provide.

Re:Obviously a move to gain customers (4, Informative)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293992)

It's obviously a move to gain consumer support and get customers to switch.

They probably also believe that they weren't going to get their way and therefore best put their money towards getting the infrastructure in place by the deadline. Also, they probably realised that by making it easier for customers to switch, then with a good marketing campaign, people probably will.

Since cell phone number are virtual, relative to the phone, the real work is actually on the land based switches. Then again given that the infrastructure had to be in place to allow the calls to be routed to the cell phone networks, then the ability to switch phone numbers is only at maximum a firmware update away.

This is good (4, Interesting)

confusednoise (596236) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293818)

This is good news for the consumer. I've held off switching carriers precisely because I would be forced to get a new number - losing the one everyone's used to reaching me at. Yeah, yeah, I could try to update people, but yer always gonna miss someone. Hopefully this will encourage the carriers to improve their service to stay competitive rather than relying on customers who are locked in.

Vonage + Cellular (3, Interesting)

caffeinex36 (608768) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293819)

What my vonage service needs to do is offer a portability type service, where I can get VoiP mobile....having 1 number for both home and cell, while still taking advantage of VoiP and my 25.99 flat rate fee. My cel phone is almost DOUBLE what my vonage at home bill is :(

Re:Vonage + Cellular (2, Interesting)

Neck_of_the_Woods (305788) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293969)


I think Vonage needs to get in bed with Cisco just a little more and bring out one of the "voip" phones.

Cisco has a phone that will jump onto a wireless network and call home to momma. Now as the wireless networks crop up everywhere it would make sence to have a cell phone that would scan for open wireless networks, jump on call Vonage via IP and make the call happen. If that is not around jump on the Cell Tower your under. If you at home jump on your regular Vonage service or your wifi at the house.

It just seems to simple not to do.

Cheaper? (1)

marshac (580242) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293820)

Will this increase competition and lower the monthly rates? I know i'll be going back to voicestream (with my current sprint phone #) once this gets going

Re:Cheaper? (4, Interesting)

andyrut (300890) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293876)

Will this increase competition and lower the monthly rates? I know i'll be going back to voicestream (with my current sprint phone #) once this gets going

Most likely not. Most providers have announced they will pass the cost of number portability onto their customers, hidden within the already large number of fees and taxes one sees on their monthly bill.

This legislation is excellent, unfortunately the buck is passed to the end consumer.

No Registration Required (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293838)

Comparing software developers to help understand s (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293851)

Before you mod me down as troll or offtopic, please take a minute to read this comment. I am trying to start an

intelligent discussion about the process & practice of open source development vs. "closed" enterprise

development. I am going to compare the open source programmer mentality to that of the paid-per-hour contractor

or consultant, discuss how these different mentalities result in completely different outputs, and finally wrap

up by comparing Linux to a closed-source but open-source mentality project, Lotus Notes.

The enterprise

developer is paid by the hour. He is making money everyday, but he has little to no freedom in what he is doing.

He must read (and usually write) features documents, requirements documents, UI specifications, etc., etc. He

must author high and low-level design documents, and be prepared to defend these documents in front of his peers.

He must also participate in reviewing other people's documentation. All this is done before any code is written.

Finally, you are held accountable that your code's function & appearance is consistent with what you and the

other stakeholders have agreed to. Nobody likes doing this stuff - but that is why you are getting paid. If you

don't do it, sooner or later you will stop getting paid.

Now consider the open-source developer. He is doing

what he does because his is (a) willing and able to donate his free time, and (b) he loves to write code. He is

exciting about contributing to a project and enthusiastic about the expected result. However, this kind of

energetic programmer brings an attitude to the table; since he is doing this for himself and on his free time,

you can not dictate processes or practices to him. You can't force him to adopt a certain coding standard or

force him to code a specific UI on top of an application or guarantee a certain feature set. You can't make sure

he is not repeating the work done by anyone else, since you don't really know what he is doing. Even if you

could, there is no central authority to mandate and enforce these concepts. There is no 'PHB' with the bigger

picture looking over his shoulder and guiding him.

The output of an enterprise development shop is a coherent,

functional application or set of applciations. Since the requirements were carefully analzyed and approved, there

are no major missing features or redundant feature points. Since the design and code has been carefully reviewed

and formally tested, there are no major security problems or other 'bugs' prevelant in the software. The output

from an open source project can be wildly different. Since there was no formal requirements specification or UI

design, you can't even be sure if what you have now is what you set out to build in the first place. Since there

is no formal development lifecycle or methodology, you can't be sure if the missing or redundant features were

intentional or just happened that way. For example, take a look at the Redhat 9.0 'distro', which includes no

less that 4 seperate text editors. Why would any user want 4 text editors? The open source programmer might revel

in the freedom of choice the user has, completely ignoring the burden of choice now placed on the user. I

do not have the time or inclination to examine, compare and contrast all 4 text editors and weigh my decision on

which to use. What is lacking here is a central authority to mandate a specific UI for a text editor, which a

specific feature set, and then to hold programmers accountable if the output does not match the

requirement. Unfortunately, given that open source is developed by programmers living all across the world, and

these programmers do not communicate with each other - much less an 'authority figure', there seems to be no way

to make this concept workable. As an aside, it seems that none of the bundled text editors are any good.. they

all either crash, lose data, or have severe security issues.

I liken Linux to Lotus Notes. As a Notes programmer, I could see the development model from the inside and it makes me cringe. Notes was developed by contractors spread all over the country who did not communicate with each other, and did not have a central reference for UI or functionality - sound familiar? What you get is a chaotic and confused interface where one 'screen' looks and acts completely different from any other 'screen'. Once again... Sounds familiar? Can you say KDE, Gnome, TWM, etc.? Not to mention the diverse and confused plethora of 'distro's on the market.

In sum: Open source programmers should get jobs, move out of their parent's basement, use acne medication, and work towards a goal of someday getting a date (with someone of the opposite sex).

I find your lack of formatting... disturbing... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293878)

Your post makes baby Jesus' eyes bleed!

bill that may delay this? (4, Informative)

Creepy (93888) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293877)

read the very bottom of this:

Verizon [startribune.com]

apparently there is still a bill in congress that may delay the number change date.

Re:bill that may delay this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6294008)

Interesting, I'd like to know what the details of the legislation are though. Anyone know?

Cingular's Opposition (5, Informative)

Yavi (538405) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293896)

As an employee of Cingular wireless, I can say that we're preparing our backend system to be able to do this. I believe all of the systems are in place, but that they're just testing the system. This could definatly spur competition in the cellular industry, and my completely unbiased (yeah, right) opinion tells me it will work to our advantage by driving more customers to us.

Re:Cingular's Opposition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6293978)

Somehow I just can't bring myself to care about what the guy stuck in the Cingular kiosk has to say about the long-term plans that the company has. Why don't you take five and go to Mrs. Field's for a cookie?

Re:Cingular's Opposition (1)

cosyne (324176) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294124)

and my completely unbiased (yeah, right) opinion tells me it will work to our advantage by driving more customers to us.
I got a new phone almost exactly a year ago, so my service commitment expires any day. If it weren't for having to change my phone number, I'd drop Cingular in a second. I know all the carriers are in the business of dicking customers out of their money, but cingular's rates, service (coverage, etc) and customer service are astoundingly bad.
Hopefully I can switch carriers on Nov 25th...

Re:Cingular's Opposition (1)

leifm (641850) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294126)

I have Cingular here in Nashville, TN. I am pretty happy with it. The rollover min alone make it better than most providers. In this area at least though the GSM network sucks, and doesn't work outside of about a 40-50 mile radius around the city. I had a Moto T720 for about two months, and between spotty coverage and that phone being a POS.. But Cingular/TDMA is great.

Index out of range (5, Funny)

HitSkyn (679468) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293900)

it should be Here(0),Here(1),Here(2),Here(3),Here(4)

Does it affect us? (2, Interesting)

pVoid (607584) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293913)

I'm a phone user stuck with my Telus (canadian) phone company. I've had a phone number for 5 years now, and I really don't want to switch it. In the meantime though, Telus has got some of the crapiest packages out there... I'm being robbed on a monthly basis.

I've been stuck in it for a few months now, and frankly, I don't see anything happening anytime soon after this ruling. It's going to take at least a whole year!

</rantish post>

Things I can't believe are true about US mobiles.. (5, Interesting)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293948)

1. You can't port your number between providers.

Elsewhere, you can port your numbers in days with just a couple of phone calls.

2. You have to ditch your handset if you do switch providers.

In the rest of the world, phones have SIM cards (small smart cards). To change provider all you have to do is get a new SIM card, which costs around $7-15, depending on the provider that you're switching to.

3. You have to pay for the priviledge of being contacted.

Elsewhere, Caller Party Pays (CPP) is standard. If your boss calls you and jabbers on for an hour why should you foot the bill?

4. Numbers are geographically fixed.

Elsewhere, mobile numbers are non-geographic, which means that if you have to move from one end of the country to another, your mobile number doesn't have to change. Indeed, in most countries you can tell if you're calling a mobile number because it will have a unique, non-geographical area code - eg, in the UK all mobile numbers begin with 07xxx.

Seriously, mobile telephony seems to be one area where the US is playing catch-up.

Re:Things I can't believe are true about US mobile (3, Funny)

Czernobog (588687) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294018)

Not playing catch up.
They're playing "run from the dinosaur", since they're still in Mobile Telecommunications stone age.

NOT TRUE. (5, Funny)

Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294320)

They're playing "run from the dinosaur", since they're still in Mobile Telecommunications stone age.

NOT TRUE... STOP. IN US WE HAVE GREAT WAYS TO SEND MESSAGE... STOP. MUCH ADVANCED HERE... STOP.

Re:Things I can't believe are true about US mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6294045)

Yeah, but in the U.S. we have big guns and are not afraid to use them... When the time comes, we'll just blast your puny, European satelites out of the skies (which, of course, rightfully belong to the U.S.)!

Re:Things I can't believe are true about US mobile (0, Flamebait)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294346)

Yeah, but in the U.S. we have big guns and are not afraid to use them... When the time comes, we'll just blast your puny, European satelites out of the skies (which, of course, rightfully belong to the U.S.)!

Gee, how nice of you. Is it any wonder that even South Korea thinks that the US presents a greater threat to world peace than North Korea does?

Re:Things I can't believe are true about US mobile (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294169)

1) true, but that is going to change. Its all about lockin, and the FCC has said thats bad. So our government is stepping in to make it right.

2)I do not have a cell phone anymore, so things may have changed. When I did have a cell phone, they just replaced a chip when I switched providers.

3)Because the callers may not know there being charged. here is to numbers (324)543-0937 and (657)987-3275 which one is the cell number?

4)My coworker ho recently moved from the other coast still use there same service, with the same number. numbers are allocated per region, do to size of the country, number allocation schemes, etc. please remember the we have states larger then european countries.

Re:Things I can't believe are true about US mobile (3, Interesting)

Uart (29577) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294170)

Well, considering that I have a "national" plan on my cell phone, I don't really need to change my phone number if I move, every call to or from my phone is a local call as long as I am within the USA. I spent more than half of this year in Boston and Philadelphia, while retaining my NJ-area-code number.

As for the rest of your comments. I agree wholeheartedly.

Re:Things I can't believe are true about US mobile (2, Informative)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294187)

In the rest of the world, phones have SIM cards (small smart cards). To change provider all you have to do is get a new SIM card, which costs around $7-15, depending on the provider that you're switching to.

Some, but by no means all, phones here have SIM cards. And you *can* use them to switch providers, it's just that most providers give you a free or very very cheap phone when you sign up for a new service agreement, and it's often got newer technology/features/styles than the old phone you were previously carrying around, so most people just don't bother.

What the.. (1)

Marc2k (221814) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294228)

"..it will have a unique, non-geographical area code - eg, in the UK all mobile numbers begin with 07xxx."
Ok, I must have missed something here. If it's non-geographical, but all UK numbers are assigned 07xxx...hm. Well shit, _my_ brain is fried.

Re:What the.. (2, Funny)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294310)

If you have a mobile phone in the UK, its number will begin with 07xxx. As only mobile numbers begin with 07xxx, anyone calling you knows before they dial that it's your mobile that they are calling you on.

Your mobile number will begin 07xxx irrespective of the area code of the city that you live in - whether I live in London (area code 020), Liverpool (0161) or elsewhere, my mobile number will start 07xxx.

I thought my orignal post made that clear but, for those of you with fried brains, this is the "for Dummies" version. :)

Re:What the.. (1)

mikeplokta (223052) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294338)

Actually, Liverpool is 0151. 0161 is Manchester.

Re:Things I can't believe are true about US mobile (2, Informative)

doon (23278) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294251)

4. Numbers are geographically fixed.
eg, in the UK all mobile numbers begin with 07xxx


From the Cia World Fact Book: [cia.gov]

United Kingdom: slightly smaller than Oregon

We are talking about much smaller areas here. The US is such a big country, with a lot of landmass, it is a lot harder to manage.

Billing: Another thing to think about in the number portability, is billing. For instance, I get my phone in NY, then swith providers when I move to CA and port my number. So know when I dial someplace in CA, with a NY number is that Roaming, how is the billing computed? When my friends call me from NY, they pay a local call, but how is the billing computed? That is going to be one of the major stumbling blocks to this.

Re:Things I can't believe are true about US mobile (2, Informative)

eht (8912) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294370)

In response to number 2, one of the biggest problems with doing that in the US is the multiple networks for cell phones, well do have some GSM providers, but unlike Europe that's not all there is, we also do PCS and CDMS and TDMA.

PCS is proprietary so there's no switching phones from or to that service.

I had GSM service with Voicestream and now AT&T is rolling out/has rolled out GSM service so I should have been able to switch to them if I still had a cell phone by simply swapping my SIM card.

And analog is still the only option available in large parts of the wilderness which Voicestream didn't support when I was a customer because they're digital only.

Getting out of the way/Doing an end-run/Other (4, Insightful)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293963)

The article suggests that Verizon is making this 180 degree turn because they saw that portability was on track to win and didn't want to be seen like a sore loser. While I would love to think that a large corporation would stop fighting for something selfish when they recognized that they would most likely lose, I've had few experiences of this nature.

Which leads me to question: Is Verizon just recognizing the situation was hopeless and acting responsibly/accordingly, or are they disarming their enemies only to lobby at the last minute for something (exhorbitant fees, special restrictions) and getting it passed while everyone else is fumbling? Or are they using their switch to gain some advantage over their wireless competitors(2. ??? 3. Profit)?

Old monopolies die hard.... (2, Insightful)

davinciII (469750) | more than 11 years ago | (#6293982)

It's obvious that the anti-portability crowd all have their roots as monopolistic phone companies. Their out look is always pessimistic, that every change will result in customers leaving.

They should be looking at these changes as OPPORTUNITIES to GAIN market share, not as changes that will eat their lunch. If they don't change their outlook they will be crushed by competitors.

Re:Old monopolies die hard.... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294200)

yes, all the companies say the consumer will leave. But to where? I mean they will still want cell phones, right? apparently thye will be going to Verizon ;)

Irony. (3, Interesting)

mrsam (12205) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294031)

This is really a surprise. I have no idea what Verizon is thinking. At least around here Verizon has, in my opinion, the worst service available (and, I'm qualified to make that assessment by the virtue of knowing them back when they called themselves Bell Atlantic/NYNEX mobile), and you'd expect them to oppose anything that would make it easier for their captive customers to flee to the dozens of available competitors.

First of all, they charge for their phones. AT&T, Sprint, and others give you a free phone with a service contract. Then, their phones are crap. Twice did my phone crap out after the warranty period expired. Each time they made me pay for a replacement phone, and locked me into another contract. On two other occasions the phone blew up while it was still under warranty. Each time, I had to wait two weeks to get the phone back, and neither time would they give me a loaner, so I was without service all that time.

Finally, last year I told them to screw off. Yes, I had to get a new number, oh well. My current contract expires in October, and I'm really looking forward to the Nov 24 date.

Just for laughs, last year I went into a local Verizon dealer. He tried to sell me a phone for sixty bucks, and a two-year contract. I told him the AT&T guy across the street is giving out free phones, with a one-year contract. The Verizon guy tried to tell me that you get what you're paying for. I just laughed, and went across the street.

I don't really know what Verizon is thinking. Maybe they think that their marketing can overcome their shitty service.

Re:Irony. (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294315)

It depends on how you use your cellphone.

If you live in the city or the burbs and never leave, use Sprint or T-Mobile. They are cheap with decent service, provided you don't leave the city or stray 2-3 miles from the interstate. Verizon works everywhere.

If you travel often or frequent rural areas, go with Verizon. With Verizon, you are paying for coverage in all sorts of remote locations.

Nobody knows about portability... yet (4, Interesting)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294034)

I've been reasonably happy with Verizon -- I started out with PrimeCo (Dallas), and was expecting the worst when the former GTE took over (having had bad technical experiences with GTE as a local telco).

I was pretty peeved last year, though. I wanted to upgrade my wife's phone to a BREW-enabled handset (for Christmas), but my contract wasn't close enough to expiration. I spent quite a while talking to customer service reps and told them that as soon as Number Portability came in November 2003, I was outta there.

The rep's response was, "What's 'Number Portability'?"

I suspect that this issue is way below Jo(e) Consumer's radar screen... especially if the carriers' own reps don't yet have a scripted answer to the concept. But that won't last long! By making a U-Turn on the portability issue, Verizon is now poised to spend the next five months "educating" the consumer about their upcoming portability rights... regardless of whether their competitors are on board.

Imagine the buzz to be generated by a full-page ad from Verizon: Cingular, Sprint, and AT&T want to lock you in. Verizon is fighting to set you free. For once, good business sense happens to be on the right side of the debate.

By the way, I'm over my tiff with Verizon. I ended up upgrading (with a a cheapie phone) when the contract expired, so I'm with 'em another couple of years, come hell or high water.

Uh-oh... (1)

Anonymous Struct (660658) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294044)

That means they just thought of an even better way to screw us.

This should benefit consumers and businesses,. (1)

Death Owl (661455) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294052)

I recall when phone number portability became free in the UK. My father's mobile phone bill dropped by 300UKP per month switching from the old ripoff tariff he'd been stuck to for years because his businesscards all used that number, to a new provider and tariff. So since mobile phone calls are a significant cost to most businesses these days, this change should benefit most US businesses (except telecoms =P) Most of my friends change providers every 1 or 2 years to whichever gives them the best handset and tariff combination. If you have a high value call plan. you can get some pretty nifty handsets free.

They left out one very important thing! (5, Interesting)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294061)

Keeping your cell phone when switching service!
I have a drawer full of old cell phones that I paid THOUSANDS of dollars for over the years. Around here cell companies pop up and fold up just as quick. NONE of the local companies here have decent service or rates.
So people here, me included switch service trying to go with the best one.

"We're sorry, you can't use *their* phone with out service, you'll have to buy a NEW phone from *us* to use with our service."

I would really like to see a stop put to this sort of thing too. And when company X packs up and leaves town you can't sell your old phone to anyone for use with any other company.

That's the REAL pisser about switching service!

Re:They left out one very important thing! (1)

EyesWideOpen (198253) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294234)

As more and more phones have SIM cards won't this become less of a problem?

Re:They left out one very important thing! (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294306)

I dunno, maybe. But I wish there was something I could do with all my OLD cell phones!

I'm sure someone will suggest a beowulf cluster of old cellphones...

Cost of Portability (2)

Jedi Holocron (225191) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294062)

There are several articles covering this story. Verizon states that it would cost around $0.15 per month to allow for Local Number Portability (LNP). Other carriers seem, according to the stories, to charge $1.50 - $2.00 per month for it.

Verizon now things the cost is low enough that the carriers should just absorb it. How much are you willing to pay for this ability?

Me, I think it should not be a monthly additional fee.

Re:Cost of Portability (2, Informative)

OzeBuddha (459435) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294252)

It should not be a cost borne by the consumer, but a marketing cost borne by the carrier - if they want to be able to steal other carrier's customers, then supporting mobile number portability is a pretty small price to pay. They systems are already in use around the world, so it is not like they will have to re-invent the wheel and spend billions developing new systems.
Here in Australia we have had MNP (mobile number portability) for about 18 months now and it works relatively well. I work in sales for a large telco and about every 3rd "new" customer wants to port their number from whatever carrier to ours. The process can take hours but ususally it takes just 15 mins for the number to come across - i have seen it take 2 mins. Sure sometimes it screws up for whatever reason but it has really opened up the market, now that we have a mature market where most people have a mobile anyway and hence would want to keep their number if switching. Oh yeah, and here as in most other countries you can just get a new sim card for the new telco & keep your phone if you want to - you can even copy the numbers in your phone book across between sim cards.
Imagine that - a scary new world where your customers can jump ship & switch carriers if your service is sub-par, keeping their phone number, phone and even phone book!
No wonder efficient, competitive markets scare those telcos whose businesses have become woefully inefficient on the back on monopolistic practices. It is not competitive markets that are the problem, but the business practices of the whinging telcos.

If we're not.... (2, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294071)

If we're not going to get out cheap-ish VOIP equipment, why not use some sort of a Phone DNS.

Have a number 1-800-DNS-HOME or something and have an ID. No matter what new carrier you have, you jsut call up and goto administrator on your acct and change the phone pointer.

Yeah, it'll cost, but Verizon, Cingular, et al, wont complain as they cant.

shorter contract terms (3, Insightful)

Isaac-Lew (623) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294135)

What I would like to see are shorter contract terms. WHY should I be locked into a 1 or 2 year contract with an early termination fee? You don't see that on just about any other consumer service (including land-line phones). As a matter of fact, I remember reading somewhere that they *can't* legally do that (after a certain amount of time), anyone care to enlighten me?

OK, but... (1)

tigersaw (665217) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294141)

if number portability becomes a reality, what's to stop the phone companies from saying, "Oh, you want to keep the number you had with Verizion? That's fine, sir. I'll just go ahead and add the $50 transfer fee to your bill." Is there any provision in the FCC's mandate that prevents the companies from gouging customers in order to make up for their supposed $2B in losses due to portability?

What The Customer Wants (3, Interesting)

limekiller4 (451497) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294153)

From the article [nytimes.com] :
"The case was lost in court and now it's time to get on with providing customers with what we believe they want." - Dennis Strigl, the president and chief executive of Verizon Wireless

It's nice to see Verizon openly admit that thier first priority is themselves, not their customers.

mobile phone racket (1)

Durandel1020 (230673) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294179)

I cant wait to finally be able to switch phone networks. Ive been waiting forever for SprintPCS to offer a Bluetooth phone, instead they give me a phone with a crappy camera.

Who really uses that crappy camera!?

I call the SprintPCS store monthly, and I always get the same answer, "what the hell are talking about?", or "Ive never heard of Bluetooth"

So frustrating....

Why is this a right? (4, Interesting)

invenustus (56481) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294224)

I'm really confused about this, because I don't quite understand how phone numbers are bought and sold by companies.

Say I get broadband at home from Bob's Broadband. I get a static IP address of 1.2.3.4. Later on I decide I can get a better price from Joe's Broadband. I switch, and they give me the IP address 5.6.7.8. This is unfair! Why can't I keep my 1.2.3.4 IP address?!

Anyone who can tell a router from a hole in the ground knows the answer to this one - Bob's Broadband owns the subset of IP addresses in which 1.2.3.4 is located. If I were to keep my IP address and sign up with Joe's Broadband, there would be a lot of awkward router configuration going on at both ISP's.

Likewise, if a cellular provider buys a block of phone numbers, can they have them taken away without any compensation? I know my cellular contract doesn't say I own the number, it just says I get to use it. Can somebody fill me in?

Re:Why is this a right? (2, Insightful)

data1 (23016) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294266)

I dont think its a right but number portability is that much more important to people than an IP address. With IPs you can alter your your DNS and map your hostname to whatever new IP you have. I don't recall an alias directory for names and cell phone numbers anywhere - do you?

Canada (1)

Morgahastu (522162) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294225)

I wonder if Canadian carriers will adopt a similar policy in the near future?

I hate having to stick with one carrier, their shitty plans and their crummy phones because I don't want to change phone numbers.

I'd also like to see companies let you bring over your old phone from a different carrier.

Down with restrictions!

Don't expect it to work smoothly. (2, Interesting)

Rai (524476) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294334)

Carrier's already have problems with their respective services and now everyone expects this to just work perfectly because the FCC says so.

I wouldn't port my number unless absolutely necessary. I think people will have a lot less trouble if they just cut their losses and go with a new number. Keep the old number's voice mail in service for a month or so and leave the new number as the message.

Same Phone? (1)

BlankTim (241617) | more than 11 years ago | (#6294375)

Hey, it's great I can keep my same number now, though I don't like the one I have; Mnmeonics are crappy with this one.

I'd rather be able to have PHONE poratability between providers though.
Personally I'm getting tired of dishing out for a new phone every time.
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