Ministry not firm on call-forwarding costs

The Ministry of Commerce admits the cost figures on phone call-forwarding provided in its telecomms numbering report are largely guesswork. A Ministry senior adviser in telecommunications, Phillip Toye, says the cost estimate is just an indication, based on off-the-cuff comments from Telecom and the ministry's understanding about what has happened overseas.

The Ministry of Commerce admits the cost figures on phone call-forwarding provided in its telecomms numbering report are largely guesswork.

A Ministry senior adviser in telecommunications, Phillip Toye, says the cost estimate is just an indication, based on off-the-cuff comments from Telecom and the ministry’s understanding about what has happened overseas. “One would assume some [industry] sharing of the costs,” he says.

Telecom spokesman Clive Litt confirms the figures are the Ministry’s, not Telecom’s, which is not commenting on likely costs.

The main focus of the telecommunications numbering report is on options for number allocation and dispute resolution. Local number portability refers to the call-forwarding mechanism — a facility provided by Telecom with Clear, Telstra and Saturn — and says the limitations may affect its long-term suitability. Specifically, the limitations highlighted are: capacity; a slight delay in connection time; and that some services such as caller ID may not be portable.

The report suggests the long-term hardware and software costs of addressing the limitations of call-forwarding may be between $50 million and $100 million.

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