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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Number Portability Expected to Hurt Smaller Solution Providers in September

Number portability is set to hit the market in September and will potentially financially hurt small solution providers less equipped that use least cost routing (LCR). This issue is causing worry among customers expecting that the negative impact on solution providers will translate to higher costs for them.

Industry experts still state that while there may be some impact, churn rates will probably be lower, allowing consumers to port to alternative networks. Number portability makes it possible for users to choose alternative network providers without changing numbers, which allows them to have more options within the market.

Experts also state that convenience is typically what determines churn rates. Traditionally 90% of new connections are customers that pre-pay and don’t need or want to go through the difficult process of porting. They usually throw away old SIM cards and get new numbers.

Solution provider Vodacom recently got rid of one million inactive prepaid consumers, which displays how simple it is for these consumers to just buy totally new packages when they need a number. The biggest problem for customers is the cost of changing providers, which is still unregulated.

Because many subscribers get stuck in contracts, they won’t be able to break out of them with the dawn of number portability. The service provider releasing the client from the contract and the one signing this same client up have to agree on a standard process, meaning that sometimes certain solution providers will refuse to allow number migration if there is an outstanding bill or any sort of dispute surrounding a contract. Commitments will probably have to be more long-term, causing customers to have to think more carefully about the process of signing up for specific contracts.

Because no one wants to lose money, there will be a lot of money spent on retention marketing, which will be a great deal for consumers but might very well cause difficulties for solution providers. Call centers will probably be better, and the competition among providers will cause better customer service in general and some special opportunities.

Added By: Computer Consulting 101