Government Pressures Telcos to Hurry Wireless Number Portability

9 Oct ’05

Tyle Hamilton reports that the Government is pressuring the telcos to speed their leisurely timetable for wireless number portability, and that the industry has responded with threats that any significant changes to their plans will slow the overall timetable.

Eager to bring portability to most Canadians as soon as possible, the regulator is now telling the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association to bring back a better plan, including five possible scenarios for moving forward more quickly.

“The commission would like a phased implementation for the introduction of WNP,” the CRTC wrote in a Sept. 23 letter to the wireless association obtained by the Star.

The regulator pointed out that number portability currently available for local phone service was available in some areas of Canada in less than six months, implying that a similar schedule could be possible for mobile phone services.

In a written response last week, the wireless association issued a warning to the CRTC: “Significant deviations from the plan may cause re-work and could place the September 2007 launch date in jeopardy.”

In an almost defiant tone, the association wrote that it has every intention of sticking with the current plan, arguing that phasing in portability in different regions and cities, and to different customers, would create confusion in the market.

The only confusion I have about the market is over why Canadians should be required to accept so little true competition in this industry.

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