Woosh Wireless is suggesting extending the long-awaited number portability solution to allow portability between fixed and wireless networks.
In its submission on the review of the Telecommunications Act, Woosh suggests allowing land-line numbers be transferred to mobiles and vice versa, says commercial and legal manager Nick Clarke.
Naturally, Woosh will also be looking to portability from both fixed and mobile to any voice service that Woosh sets up. Such a service would be likely to be “local” [fixed] in the first instance, Clarke says; the technology is not yet there for Woosh to operate with mobile instruments, but he sees this as two years away or less.
Clarke, speaking with Computerworld last week, took the emphasis off the role of number portability in moving market share to a Woosh voice service, saying portability is “what people are looking for” in a general sense.
Telecom and Vodafone have both asked the Telecommunications Commissioner for a determination over number portability, however Clarke suggests such a technical job may not be appropriate for the commission. A better course, he says, might be “to give industry the incentives to implement it.” One possible way would be for the Commissioner to determine the cost of an efficient portability solution then instruct all players that tariffs reflecting those costs will come in on a certain date.
This will spur them to implement the efficient system, Clarke says, since the alternative will be to operate a less efficient system on the income more appropriate to an efficient one.
ISPs may also become a factor in the market, through VoIP services, Clarke says; “so we’ll be competing for market share and porting conventional numbers, while in another part of the market will be Skype and the like, saying ‘why not just use your email address?’ I haven’t got my head around the possible consequences of that yet.”