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Telecommunications Number Portability Initiative

Telecommunications Industry Launches Number Portability Initiative


Nine telecommunications companies have combined to accelerate the industry’s slow crawl towards number portability.

The nine companies – CallPlus, CLEAR, Compass, IHUG, Newcall, Quest, Superway, Telstra Saturn and WorldXchange – have agreed on what they have described as a “roadmap for portability”. They call for an independent industry process to deliver portability -- the ability for customers to keep their number when they change their telecommunications provider -- in New Zealand.

The industry group believes number portability can be available in this country within 12 months.

Spokesperson, Dennis Millard, Services Development and Operations Manager, CallPlus Ltd said the group wants to halt the planned cost-benefit study into Long Term Number Portability (LTNP) about to be commissioned by the parties to the Number Administration Deed (NAD).

“The NAD process has taken 18 months just to get to the stage of agreeing on who should undertake a cost-benefit study,” said Mr Millard. “The study itself is likely to take more than six months and offers no guarantee that we’ll get portability. Even if the NAD parties then agree on portability, further time will be lost on issues such as allocating the costs of its implementation.


“New Zealand’s telecommunications users should not have to wait so long for a facility that is both essential and basic. Internationally, the benefits of portability – particularly for local numbers – are now universally accepted. A further cost-benefit study in New Zealand is both unnecessary and expensive, and will serve only to put the brakes on the rollout of portability.

“What we’re saying is: The technology is here and the will is here. Let’s get on and do it.”

Mr Millard said the industry group’s proposal was being considered by both Telecom and Vodafone, and that Vodafone has indicated its willingness to work with the industry players to progress this issue.

The proposal draws on international experience in introducing portability. In particular, it details how it would be funded, how much consumers should expect to pay for it, and what exactly it would deliver.

Ends

A media audio conference to explain the initiative has been scheduled for 4pm on Friday 8 September. The conference will be hosted by:
Dennis Millard, Services Development and Operations Manager, CallPlus Ltd
Contact phone: (09) 915 7512
Mobile: (021) 66 41 41
Contact fax: (09) 915 7515
Contact email: dennism@callplus.co.nz
Please dial in on 0800 944 449
Then enter the guest pin of 72048790 3476#

Telecommunications Operators in support of the Industry Initiative

(Note: (NAD) designated parties to the Number Administration Deed)

CallPlus Communications, (NAD) Dennis Millard, Services Development and Operations Manager
CLEAR Communications, (NAD) Grant Forsyth, Manager Industry & Regulatory Affairs
Compass Communications, Karim Hussona, Chief Executive
IHUG, (NAD) David Diprose, Telecommunications Manager
Newcall Communications, (NAD) David Stubbs, Director of Business Development
QUEST, Nigel Colling, Chief Executive
Superway, Peter Pratt, Managing Director
Telstra Saturn, (NAD), Jilyut Wong, GM Industry and Carrier Relations
WorldXchange, Paul Clarkin, Operations Manager
Telecommunications Industry
Number Portability Initiative
8 September 2000

1. That the current cost-benefit study into Long Term Number Portability (LTNP) being considered by the parties to the Number Administration Deed (NAD) be halted.
2. That the industry agrees to implement systems and upgrades to their own existing systems to enable them to deliver LTNP as currently specified in clause 7 of the NAD LTNP Economic Study Terms Of Reference for the independent expert, dated 4 March 2000f.
Note 1: The NAD specification simply defines “service equivalence” where the service of a ported number is equivalent to a non ported service within the same network.
Note 2: the technical implementation of a solution within an operator’s own network is for the operator’s sole determination so long as the implementation delivers the agreed “equivalence of service” and interfaces and integrates to an agreed technical specification with other operators.
3. That each operator agrees to be capable of supporting LTNP as defined in 2 above within 12 months of all operators agreeing to these resolutions or sooner by mutual agreement or sooner by mandate of the Government.
4. That all costs associated with the implementation of number portability within an operator’s own business, including amongst other costs, network and operating support systems upgrades, will be borne by that operator.
5. That the industry commission a 3 month project to design an independent intra-industry process and administrative institution to facilitate the delivery of LTNP (for example to manage churn and a central register of ported numbers).
6. That the cost of development of an intra-industry system, will be shared equitably by all operators that currently have numbers allocated to them. The on-going costs of administration will be shared between all operators via a small annual flat fee and usage basis.
7. That a recipient operator will be liable to pay a one-off administration charge to a donor operator for each user that chooses to change their operator and take their number with them. The administration charge to be of the order of the current administration charge ($17.00) and no more than $20 + gst.
8. That a donor operator will not charge a recipient operator or ported user any amount per call or for conveyance, in addition to normal interconnect charges, for the service being ported.
9. That the current arrangements of charging an additional 0.5c per minute for conveyance of calls ‘ported’ via the Call Readdress facility (the current interim number portability arrangement) will cease by the end of 2000.
10. That the parties will seek any necessary authorisations under the Commerce Act to support the above resolutions before implementing such of them as require authorisation.

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