NEW YORK -- A new Bell Atlantic service, the first of its kind in the U.S., will make finding phone customers decidedly easier for competing telecommunications carriers.
Bell Atlantic's new service, known as Service Provider Number Portability Database Service, lets other phone companies locate the proper route to send calls to customers who switch local phone companies.
This new technology is essential as long-term local number portability (LNP) is introduced. LNP allows customers to keep their phone numbers when they change companies without changing locations.
Last week, Bell Atlantic became the first telephone company in the nation to introduce a long-term form of local number portability in switching offices in Gaithersburg, Md., and part of Center City Philadelphia. By the end of next year, the technology will be available in all 23 major markets the company serves.
Bell Atlantic's long-term LNP system uses intelligent network systems and a remote database. This database stores the "ported" phone numbers of customers who have changed local phone companies, as well as "location routing numbers," which are assigned to each competing local telephone company's switch that handles calls.
Here's how it works:
When Customer A calls Customer B, who has switched local phone companies, a signal checks the database, where it finds that Customer B's phone number is now served by another local telephone company. The call is routed via the appropriate location routing number to the switching center of Customer B's phone company, and from there to Customer B's phone.
The new Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX - is at the forefront of the new communications, information and entertainment industry. With 40 million telephone access lines and 5.8 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 21 countries.