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Number portability delivers savings, convenience

21 November

Number portability will deliver savings and convenience.

CLEAR welcomes the conclusion of an expert economic report, that the introduction of long-term telephone number portability (LTNP) could put $192 million, or more, in New Zealanders' pockets and provide them the convenience of retaining their phone numbers when changing telecommunications service provider.

Number portability is where a consumer can change their telephone service provider and retain their existing telephone number. When introduced, it enables residential consumers and businesses to choose the most competitive telecommunications service while keeping their same telephone number for both their fixed line and mobile phones. This means consumers will have increased choice and access to innovation.

"Residential consumers, mobile users and many businesses have been understandably reluctant to change their telecommunications provider because they cannot retain their phone number. This has been especially true for business customers who've often heavily invested in promoting their numbers through letterhead and advertising," said CLEAR's Manager of Industry and Regulatory Affairs, Grant Forsyth.

"There now needs to be industry-wide agreement on how full number portability will be implemented," he says.

The report was completed by the Law & Economics Consulting Group and Amos Aked Swift for of the Number Administration Deed (NAD). It notes that the study omits estimation of the dynamic efficiency effects of LTNP and so is likely to substantially understate the true net social benefits of LTNP.

Mr Forsyth says a limited form of number portability, known as interim call forwarding, which offers only limited benefits to users, is now available between Telecom and some of its competitors including CLEAR.

The report finds that 'Whether Full LTNP yields a net social benefit critically depends on the price structure adopted for charging customers for porting services and whether LTNP removes rationing.' The report goes on to note that this is achieved only if customers are charged only for the marginal costs of porting.

CLEAR supports these findings and as a member of the NAD will seek to work with other telcos to ensure that their pricing structures do not frustrate this necessary condition.

Copies of the LNTP report can be obtained in electronic form from CLEAR's web site http://www.clear.co.nz/_media/company-info/number_portability.pdf

ENDS

For further information contact:

Grant Forsyth Manager - Industry and Regulatory Affairs CLEAR Communications Ltd. (09) 912 5759

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