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Telecom Supports Number Portability Analysis

Telecom says New Zealand does not need another “roadmap for portability.”

Responding to a call by some telecommunications companies advocating that the agreed process be stopped and a new process be started, General Manager Access and Transport Richard Dammery said today: “We already have a process. So heading down another path to the one set out in the existing numbering arrangements would not be good for consumers.”

Dr Dammery said the industry has jointly agreed to implement a full cost-benefit analysis under the Numbering Administration Deed and the process is well in train. He agreed it has taken some time to get to the point of doing a cost benefit analysis.

“But we’re there now. And anyway, how do we know this new proposal, supported mostly by the smaller industry participants, will produce a better or faster outcome.

“If it wasn’t for this new initiative, launched on the eve of the telecommunications inquiry panel’s report, we could actually be advancing the established industry process.

“We believe that the cost-benefit analysis is the best process for the industry to follow to ensure the outcome is efficient and fair. That’s why the industry, overseen by the (then) Ministry of Commerce, established it in the first place. There’s no guarantee that any alternative will produce a better or faster outcome, so why not just get on with it?”

Dr Dammery noted New Zealand already has a workable number portability solution in place. “Thousands of New Zealanders already have changed networks, retaining their telephone numbers through using a call forwarding arrangement,” he said. “So the only consideration is whether New Zealand should upgrade the solution. The cost-benefit analysis will determine whether the benefits of doing so will outweigh the potentially significant costs.”

Dr Dammery said Telecom is committed to the process set out in the Number Administration Deed.

“We believe it is working pretty well, with all timeframes met so far and several contentious issues resolved. We’re obviously worried by the lack of commitment some industry players are demonstrating to the agreement, which they signed. All this latest proposal will do is slow down the evaluation of the portability solutions, which is counter-productive,” Dr Dammery said.

“In conducting a rigorous cost benefit analysis New Zealand is not out of step with the rest of the world. It is merely ensuring the best outcome for New Zealand consumers.”

Ends

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