Canadian Wireless Providers Bid to Slow Celphone Number Portability

22 Apr ’05

The Globe has the story today that the wireless providers have been quick to jump on the announcement in the last Budget concerning mandatory celphone number portability. Quicker than they were to jump on the issue originally, natch. Why, you ask?

Well, when the Budget news broke, I wrote:

The article also delves into the carriers’ responses, which predictably are uniformly to put their chins in their hands and mutter darkly about how difficult and costly this is going to be, as well as how they really ought to be left alone to decide what is best for us. Same old-same old from the US carriers when they were forced to do this. And equally predictably, all of this fear-mongering and rumination over the imminent collapse of Western civilization that will result will be shown later to be wrong. Always with the fear, they are.

True to form, the wireless companies aren’t jumping on the issue quickly now because they want to get it done, instead, it’s to get it undone, or at least bog it down in molasses. This is what’s ahead:

Bell Mobility Inc., Telus Corp., and Rogers Wireless Communications Inc., were among the carriers that trumpeted an agreement yesterday to introduce portable numbers in Canada. A plan outlining the milestones for this process is scheduled to be completed by Sept. 1. After that, the wireless carriers need to approve the plan, set a start date and start carrying it out.

But customers probably won’t be bringing their cellphone numbers to another carrier any time soon, one analyst predicts, calling it a 2006 event at the earliest.

So they are trumpeting an announcement that soon there will be … more announcements. Always with the making plans and announcements, they are. Studies will be required. Many, many meetings (mmm, donuts). And meanwhile, we’ll wait. Because we have no choice. Mmmm, choice …..

And of course, the regulatory types at the telcos know that a government weakened by the Gomery Commission, and fighting off NDP and Tory assaults on the Budget and early election gambits isn’t going to put any time into making its original decision on this happen any sooner.

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