Now here’s some legislation worth supporting… of course, it’s also basically a personal GUID, but I won’t get into that again right now…


A new regulation that would enable cell phone users to take their number

with them when they switch carriers could generate a spike in customer

turnover, or churn, at least in the short term, says analyst Ken Hyers at

In-Stat/MDR: “The first 12 months after the regulation will be very painful

but then the pain will diminish. Carriers should accept that rule as

inevitable and move forward.” Hyers predicts that about 46% of U.S. mobile

customers will switch to a rival operator in the year following the

regulation’s November 2003 implementation. That compares with an estimated

current turnover rate of 30%. Similar rules in Australia, Hong Kong and

parts of Europe have resulted in churn rates increasing by 25% to 50%, says

In-Stat. In addition to the probability of losing customers, wireless firms

will have to face increased outlays of between $900 million and $1 billion

to upgrade their networks and software in order to accommodate number

portability. But telecom analyst Jeff Kagan says the final result could be

a blessing in disguise for the industry: “Right now customers are not using

a mobile as their primary phone but that is a goal of the industry. Once it

happens, the bottom line is that customers will scream if they have to

change their number. The way to keep customers happy is not to trap them

but to give them a reason to stay.”

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