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Topic # 4825 31-Aug-2005 12:34

NZ Herald
Phone users able to keep number when switching companies

31.08.05 12.00pm


Telecommunications Commission head Douglas Webb today ruled phone users will be able to keep their phone number after switching companies.

Number portability has been a thorny issue for customers and companies for years with Telecom resisting by contending it owned the numbers. Following protracted industry negotiations, the new regime will come into force on April 1, 2007.

Mr Webb has requested companies introduce the scheme earlier.

His determination released today sets out the standards for implementing industry-wide telephone number portability in New Zealand, and a formula for allocating between carriers the cost of providing the number portability services.

While local number portability is currently available to some customers, the determination sets a path for an efficient industry-wide solution that will provide number portability for all local and cellular users.

"Universal number portability will improve competition in the local and cellular markets," Mr Webb said.

Mr Webb said the decision was binding on all companies.

"Everyone accepts that there is to be full number portability -- it's got to happen. This has, obviously, a very long history to it," he told NZPA.

Mr Webb said the industry had accepted for some time that there would be number portability. The most recent debate had been on who paid the costs. Industry participants were unable to agree on costs so the commission made a ruling.

The commission decided that the costs of setting up the switching system would be shared across the industry on a market share basis and the costs of switching an individual customer be paid by the operator that wins the customer.

"There have been arguments as usual in this industry but the decision has been made and that settles the matter," said Mr Webb.

Telecom was not immediately available to comment.

- NZPA



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A Hot topic
Finally a definitive move, admittedly 1 April 2007 is a little while away and some companies are known for doing the regulatory minimum despite the request of the Telecommunications Commissioner.

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Hawkes Bay
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  Reply # 19398 31-Aug-2005 13:17
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Wow. This has gotta be good for the country.

There are some implications (like how do i know if i can VXT, Video Call, P2T the other party?), but on the whole, the benefits to the customer have got to be far greater.




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  Reply # 19403 31-Aug-2005 13:28
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IMHO number portability on mobile networks can only cause confusion as Disenchanted pointed, the networks have very different services etc. But maybe if we are lucky by the time this comes into force features and services will be very similar if not the same accross the networks.

It is a great idea for fixed lines (which telecom are now switching to VOIP) but in the end it could be more trouble than its worth for mobile customers

 
 
 
 


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Reply # 19404 31-Aug-2005 13:29
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Disenchanted: There are some implications (like how do i know if i can VXT, Video Call, P2T the other party?), but on the whole, the benefits to the customer have got to be far greater
Why worry? You currently don't know anyway - unless you know the other party and you are completely aware of the other party's PTT, MMS, Video Call capabilities. I don't imagine anyone would initiate a Video Call to an unknown number without the knowledge that the other party can actually take the call. Same for PTT.

All mobile services are dumb. They rely on the users letting others aware of capabilities.




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  Reply # 19406 31-Aug-2005 13:31
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Seriously though, in this day and age, capability to have these services working between carriers exists (or could be developed with current technologies), so portability might be the kick up the jacksie the carriers need to get on with doing it all.

I was against number portability for a while, but researched the topic, and and have been coming around to the idea quite quickly.




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  Reply # 19407 31-Aug-2005 13:34
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You do have a good point there. But say for instance you are on 027, you generally know what you can and cant send to other mates on 027. But if you you have one who is really on vodafone with an 027 number it just makes things a little confusing, especially for all those non geeks out there.

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  Reply # 19408 31-Aug-2005 13:35
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freitasm: All mobile services are dumb. They rely on the users letting others aware of capabilities.

A while ago here on Geekzone someone talked about 'presence' servers that all carriers could access, so you could know what services the party you are about to contact supports. (Think 'gaim' style buddy list - only one that lists each of your contacts under one heading with all the protocols they support).

Even if we dont see this in the next 2 -3 years, its reasonable to think that this capability could be mainstream on mobile networks in the relatively near future.




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  Reply # 19409 31-Aug-2005 13:40
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Now that would be an excellent idea

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  Reply # 19412 31-Aug-2005 13:47
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brad05: Now that would be an excellent idea

It could be done with WAP for very little cost right now (but be a manually updated system).
Register yourself and your handsets network type and capabilitys, and be able to check anyone else out (who registered) with say wap.presence.net.nz/027XYZ1234 and get a tiny (read: cheap) text only page back listing what that handsets supported protocols are.

Im sure that this simple idea could be expanded upon to be more useful, and that a carrier could do it without batting an eyelid...




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Reply # 19413 31-Aug-2005 13:51
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Disenchanted:
freitasm: All mobile services are dumb. They rely on the users letting others aware of capabilities.

A while ago here on Geekzone someone talked about 'presence' servers that all carriers could access, so you could know what services the party you are about to contact supports. (Think 'gaim' style buddy list - only one that lists each of your contacts under one heading with all the protocols they support).

Even if we dont see this in the next 2 -3 years, its reasonable to think that this capability could be mainstream on mobile networks in the relatively near future.
Microsoft Live Communications Server. This is being used by Nortel to integrate into a 100% IP basec triple play service (voice, media, video).

Why limit this by usin a protocol like WAP? Nope, use established presence protocols and off we go. Each service is then just another attribute in the indicator.

The main problem is that carriers won't want to exchange this information - it is too important, I think, to retain customers through FUD.







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  Reply # 19415 31-Aug-2005 14:30
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i think the number portability is great for landline, as for cellular number, it will be chaotic, look at america, the number they have is based on the state, not network.

if cellular numbers keep the network code, that will give people distinguishment of whose network you're on.



although, "presence" is a great idea but people today have grown acustomed to network code etc.




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  Reply # 19417 31-Aug-2005 15:05
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What if you were able to text a persons number to a free number and get a reply stating what services are compatible etc. That must be a much easier and faster way than using WAP

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Reply # 19419 31-Aug-2005 15:28
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brad05: What if you were able to text a persons number to a free number and get a reply stating what services are compatible etc. That must be a much easier and faster way than using WAP

Yep - requires the carriers to implement it though.

So next question: do you expect this for free (but know that you will be paying for it in the long run through other higher fees) and would you be happy to pay 20c / 50c per query (knowing you will only be querying on a relatively infrequent basis)




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Reply # 19422 31-Aug-2005 15:39
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long term, id rather see icons next to someones name in my contact list to indicate what they can and cant recieve.

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  Reply # 19423 31-Aug-2005 15:43
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I guess paying 20c would not be too bad for this request as you point out it wouldnt be that frequent.

If you were to use icons in your address book that would require some work from all the phone companies to allow this or is there some way that when you added somebody to the phone book would it be possible for the phone to contact the network and add those icons etc if you get my point.

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  Reply # 19424 31-Aug-2005 15:59
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To integrate into the handset would require the handset manufacturers to co-operate (or pay to licence a standard that someone else comes up with).

This would be Utopia for this project i think, but is also the longest option from conception to completion, the most expensive option, and the most unlikely in the mid-term (all in my opinion of course).

The other problem we will face, is calling people when we have a cheap rate to stay on our network, but more to call off network. You just have zero way of knowing in advance.

I feel number portability is going to change so much of the local mobile industry as we know it, beyond a simple retention of number.




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