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Cell Phone Numbers...You Can Take Them With You

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, July 2, 2003

You can take it with you. At least you will be able to come November. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The FCC appears to have won its battle to force wireless phone carrier to allow cell phone users to keep their phone numbers when they switch from one carrier to another. The nation's largest mobile phone company, Verizon Wireless, is headed by Denny Strigl...

"I think it's time to clear the decks. Our government has spoken, we are hearing from our customers that local number portability is what they want. It's time to give it to them and lets do it in a way that makes it easy for them to port their numbers between wireless carriers."

Verizon Wireless and other companies had fought the plan ... losing in a federal appeals court ruling a couple of weeks ago. Local number portability will take effect on November 24th. Strigl estimates it will cost his company 10 to 15 cents per month per customer... but the company does not intend to charge a fee for portability. Verizon Wireless and other carriers are planning to introduce data services with speeds as fast or faster than wired broadband connections...

"I think what it means to consumers is that you will see speeds up to about 2.4 megabits. And this is what customers really want in order to do downloads, quick email opportunity." Will that be competing with existing cable and DSL connections? "I think it will compete with everything that's in the marketplace today."

Trials are set to begin later this year in Washington D.C. and San Diego. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.