A submission to the Commerce Commission on phone number portability has been in the minds of the newer telcos for some time, “but we’ve been cognisant of the commission’s workload” particularly on the telecommunications side, says TelstraClear spokesman Mathew Bolland.
With deliberations on bandwidth wholesaling and local-loop unbundling winding down a little “this is as good a time as any” to raise the long-disputed number portability question.
The telcos arrived at a provisional agreement known as a “number portability deed” in 1998-9 and since then they have been quarrelling over how the cost of intelligent switching equipment to support portability should be shared.
Telecom says this form of number portability, as distinct from Telecom’s cheaper call-forwarding solution would impose huge costs on the industry with dubious benefits for customers.
“Last year the industry-wide Numbering Administration Deed (NAD) group failed to prove a clear case for the net economic benefit of regulated number portability”, says Bruce Parkes, general manager government and industry relations.
He says the money could be better spent elsewhere, for example in helping to provide broadband coverage to schools.