TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: FCC: 8M Wireless Users Keep Cell Numbers

FCC: 8M Wireless Users Keep Cell Numbers

Monty Solomon (
Tue, 23 Nov 2004 20:42:16 -0500

By BRUCE MEYERSON AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Nearly 8 million mobile phone users have switched
carriers and kept their cell numbers since a new rule allowing that
flexibility went into effect one year ago, the Federal Communications
Commission disclosed Tuesday.

Almost 750,000 more people have moved either a home or office phone
number to a cell phone, the FCC told The Associated Press on the eve
of the one-year anniversary of the agency's "number portability"

The agency planned to report on Wednesday that by the end of October,
8.5 million people had taken advantage of the rule which took effect
in the nation's 100 biggest markets on Nov. 24, 2003. That includes
7.8 million who switched from one cell phone company to another.

The FCC also revealed that the pace picked up significantly when the
rules were extended nationally to include smaller and rural markets in
late spring, jumping from roughly 700,000 customer switches in March,
April and May to more than 1 million in June and 950,000 in July.

The figures suggest that millions of cell phone users may have been
frustrated with their cell phone service but were hesitant to switch
providers because they didn't want to give up a phone number which was
familiar to friends, business associates and family.

However, the tally is well short of many forecasts issued a year ago,
some of which predicted that up to 30 million people might switch
carriers in the first year.


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