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FCC Order Clarifying Wireless Phone Number Portability Means Cell Phone Inudstry Has No More Excuses

October 7, 2003
Janee Briesemeister(512)-477-4431, ext. 117

Today’s Federal Communications Commission Order Clarifying Wireless
Phone Number “Portability” Means Cell Phone Industry Has No More Excuses

(Washington, D.C.) – Today’s FCC order clarifying the remaining implementation issues for cell phone number “portability” eliminates the wireless phone industry’s last, flimsy argument for why it can’t meet consumers’ demands for portable cell phone numbers.
“There are no real technical barriers standing in the way of consumers being able to keep their cell phone numbers when they switch providers,” said Janee Briesemeister, director of Consumer Union’s EscapeCellHell.org campaign. “The only barrier has been the unwillingness of the cell phone companies to give consumers what they want.”
Briesemeister said the industry has thrown up excuse after excuse in calling for repeated delays of “number portability” – the requirement by the FCC that cell phone companies by Nov. 24 allow consumers to take their numbers with them when they switch carriers. It most recently claimed that it didn’t have the appropriate guidance from the FCC on how to implement portability.
“The FCC has called them on their latest bluff by issuing today’s order. Now it is time for all wireless carriers to spend as much time and energy in making portability work as they have in trying to defeat it,” she said.
Consumers Union has been an outspoken advocate of number portability, because it allows consumers the choice and flexibility they deserve. Cell phone users have been clamoring for the freedom to change wireless carriers without the hassle of losing their wireless phone number. Consumers have sent more than 22,000 letters to Congress through the Website, www. EscapeCellHell.org, asking them not to delay further number portability.

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