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View Full Version : Surviving Number Portability

Robert Levy
07-16-2003, 12:11 AM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jul2003/tc20030715_9094_tc078.htm' target='_blank'>http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jul2003/tc20030715_9094_tc078.htm</a><br /><br /></div>"This Thanksgiving, America's 147 million cell-phone users will indeed have something to be thankful for: On Nov. 24, we'll all finally be allowed to switch carriers without having to change our phone number. It's the chance consumers have been anticipating. Now, without any inconvenience, we finally will be able turn the table on wireless carriers that have been torturing us for years with dropped calls, inconsistent customer service, and complicated price plans that require an advanced degree in comparative analysis to comprehend. <br /><br />By Christmas, analysts predict, most cellular outfits will find big lumps of coal in their stockings. Industry churn -- the percentage of customers who change service providers -- already tops 27% annually, according to industry group the Cellular Telecommunication & Information Assn. (CTIA). When so-called number portability kicks in, that percentage can be expected to skyrocket. A recent survey by Management Network Group, a communications research firm, revealed that 6% of cell-phone users -- some 8.7 million people -- would switch carriers within a day if they could take their phone numbers with them. Some 27%, or 39 million customers, said they would switch providers as soon as they received a better offer. Better than 50% of those who experienced service issues in the past year said they would at some point switch carriers.<br /><br />Much has been said about number portability's impact on carriers. Industry watchers have speculated about the possible winners (Verizon (VZ ) and AT&T Wireless (AWE )) -- the anticipated losers (Cingular and Sprint (PCS )), and portability's total cost to the industry -- likely about $2 billion. But little has been said about just how the carriers plan to manage the impending chaos. Most of the industry, with the exception of Verizon Wireless, is still fighting the FCC mandate. And hypercompetitive carriers are paranoid about tipping their hands to their rivals. "There's going to be a bloodbath, and yet no one is talking about how to avoid it," says Jeffrey Kagan, an independent telecom analyst in Atlanta.<br /><br />So, here are a few unsolicited suggestions about how cell-phone carriers might best respond to the new rules. Based on interviews with disgruntled customers, marketing experts, and telecom executives who survived the transition from regulated to competitive long-distance telephone service, wireless outfits should follow three simple guidelines to make sure they win more customers than they lose."<br /><br />Read the whole artilce and list of survival tips for carriers over at <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jul2003/tc20030715_9094_tc078.htm">BusinessWeek</a>.<br /><br />So what do you think? Do you expect to change carriers when number portability kicks in? What could your current carrier do to convince you to stay and what could other carrier do to convince you to leave?

Mike Temporale
07-16-2003, 01:27 PM
I hope that makes it to Canada soon! I wouldn't switch from Fido, but it would have been nice when I was on Rogers last year. They repeatedly used the "you'll lose your number" line on me when I was fighting for better rates, and a better phone.

Customer Service is #1. Rogers just doesn't understand that, they would suffer the most from something like this. :twisted: And I would love to see that happen.

07-16-2003, 03:30 PM
I am really thinking hard about leaving ATT. The voice plan that I have with them is great and I get alot of minutes but thier data plan just plain sucks now when compared to T-Mobiles unlimited plan. It pains me every time I think that for what I am paying for 8MB of data a month someone else is getting unlimited usage. I keep calling ATT and asking them when they will compete in pricing with T-Mobile but of course I get nowhere. If things are the same by the time this thing kicks in I just may switch to T-Mobile for the better data plan.

07-16-2003, 06:50 PM
So what do you think? Do you expect to change carriers when number portability kicks in? What could your current carrier do to convince you to stay and what could other carrier do to convince you to leave?

Well I'm with Sprint now. These are the things Sprint must fix -
1. Improve coverage especially within buildings. There is no excuse for this when Verizon has such an excellent coverage.
2. Stop having totally brain dead prices for Ringers, Games etc in its Vision service. I mean $1.50 for a tune for 90 days? Why the bl00dy hell should I have to keep repaying for a tune? I should be able to buy it out right. The way they do it now in half a year one would pay almost half the cost of a CD (without owning it). They need to give options to buy stuff outright instead of the greedy stupid recurring price model that some retarted planner has come up with.
3. Fix the Vision price plans in the light of 2 above. Right now it is $15 per month for unlimited which includes $10 credit for buying stuff. But that is mitigated by the fact that anything you buy will expire in 3 months. So basically they hiked up prices forcing you to buy stuff every month. The older plan was better. $10 per month for unlimited data access plus you could buy what you wanted (Well not all but some). My suggestion to Sprint is to have $10 per month and then allow the user the buy whatever he wants outright.

The service that I am most likely to move to is Verizon. This is what Verizon must fix -
1. Fix the price structure for data plans. $4.99 for unlimited web access sounds good except when you come to know that it eats into your airtime allocation (unlike Sprint). This is stupid. Please increase it to $10 if you like but stop charging airtime for it.
2. Improve coverage of 2.5G CMDA2000 1xRTT data. Right now Verizon has the best voice coverage but lags behind Sprint for 2.5G data coverage.
3. Have a wider selection of cool phones and do them faster. Sprint has a much better range of phones on offer compared to Verizon. Though Verizon has been improving of late.

So basically I'm not satisfied with either of them at this stage. For me data is as important (if not more) as voice and as it stands now both the services have flaws. I'm leaning towards switching to Verizon but it could either way depending on who makes improvements.