A telephone number portability deal signed by Telecom and four smaller telephone companies last year is unlikely to deliver real phone number portability, says Clear, and will allow one side of the industry to coerce those who have not yet signed the deed on to a path they disagree with.
The Commerce Commission released a draft report on March 22 stating that, from the information available to them, the bene-fits to the public of the proposed Telephone Number Administration Deed are likely to outweigh the competitive detriments and that its preliminary view was that it would authorise the deed.
The deed was signed late last year in response to threats of government regulation. Essentially, the telcos had to find a number portability and portability solution which Telecom would agree to, or the agreement would not stand and the government would be forced to regulate. However, once the agreement had been developed Clear, Saturn, WorldXChange, Compass and Global One refused to sign because they felt the second part of the agreement, on portability, was too imprecise. Communications public affairs manager Clayton Cosgrove says that while Clear and the four other non-signatories were happy with the number administration part of the deed, the portability side raised concerns. The proposed process will take too long, he says, when other countries are moving to portability as quickly as possible, and leaves open the possibility of portability being dropped altogether.
“Secondly, if the Commerce Commission accepts it, we’ll be forced to sign in order to have any access to numbers.”
Neither TUANZ nor international telecommunications users group INTUG were available for comment and the signatories to the deed are not allowed to comment publicly.