FCC: Number-switching rules apply to all

The agency issues an order that requires all landline phone companies to allow customers to transfer their numbers to cell phones when signing up for new services. [CNET News.com]

The FCC has required porting for several years, but the telephone industry has managed through lawsuits and other tactics to delay any firm deadline. Monday’s order clarifies the remaining questions that carriers had on the policy and is expected to silence the last gasp of protest from landline phone companies.

“By firmly endorsing a customer’s right to untether themselves from the wireline network–and take their telephone number with them–we act to eliminate impediments to competition between wireless and wireline services,” FCC Chairman Michael Powell said in a separate statement issued along with the ruling.

Commissioner Kevin J. Martin said he was disappointed by the order’s timing, which arrives two weeks before the deadline for carriers to implement it. “The commission has an obligation to minimize the burdens our regulations place on carriers, and I wish we had provided the guidance in this order considerably sooner,” he said in a statement.

I like how the Commish, claims there is not enough time when they have clearly been playing games trying to push off the inevitable. There is a reason MCI wants back in the wireless game, which is that once you cut the cord, there is no going back. The long distance wars may be over, but the war for your handset is really just beginning.

It will be very interesting to track the offers and bundles carriers create to maintain and attract us.

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