Verizon Wireless Challenges Competitors: Will You Be Ready for Local Number Portability on November 24th?

BEDMINSTER, NJ — Verizon Wireless, operator of the nation's largest and most reliable wireless network, today questioned whether other wireless companies will continue to fight the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate for wireless local number portability (WLNP) or if they will join Verizon Wireless in focusing on the task of meeting the mandate by the November 24, 2003 deadline established by the government. Scheduled to go into effect in many major U.S. markets beginning this fall, WLNP will allow customers to switch wireless service providers while keeping their existing mobile phone numbers.

Verizon Wireless has for several months been preparing for wireless local number portability. The company has been diligently working to implement system upgrades, new processes and procedures to ensure it will be ready on November 24, including:

  • Upgrading the nation's largest wireless network;
  • Changing systems and introducing new porting systems;
  • Training and communicating with employees and external distribution channels;
  • Conducting initial testing of porting systems;
  • Building a state of the art call center in Murfreesboro, TN.

Click here to download full outline of Verizon Wireless' preparation for implementing WLNP. (PDF - 13 KB)

"The lobbying and legal resources being used by our competitors to derail or delay number portability should come to an immediate end, and that energy should be re-directed to ensuring they are ready to let their customers change service providers with their wireless numbers. This is especially true since those same service providers are already passing their costs on to their customers on regular monthly bills," said Mark Tuller, vice president and general counsel of Verizon Wireless. "Americans should know: come November 24, you should be able to take your number with you. But if you are a customer of ALLTEL, AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Nextel or Sprint, your service provider is working hard against that freedom."

Last month, Verizon Wireless urged the FCC to establish firm guidelines for wireless number portability implementation, and to reject the position advanced by the "Wireless Carrier Group" (WCG), consisting of ALLTEL, AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Nextel and Sprint PCS, that would, if allowed, create new barriers to wireless customers who want to change service providers while keeping their mobile numbers with them. This was after the WCG told the FCC that their understanding of number portability will allow them to impose new barriers to switching that do not exist today, effectively derailing number portability. More recently, several carriers filed a lawsuit challenging the FCC's authority to require WLNP.

In June, Verizon Wireless president and chief executive officer Denny Strigl detailed the Verizon Wireless plan for implementing number portability: no up-front costs to current customers; no special barriers to switching from one service provider to another; fast service; and no hassle. Strigl said, "We will not charge any 'special fees' for customers who want to take their numbers with them. Our plan at Verizon Wireless is to treat porting customers the same way we treat any customer today. No change from today."

Tuller noted that the company's position on number portability is a natural extension of the Verizon Wireless customer-focused "Worry Free Guarantee."

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 34.6 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at