Neustar, Inc. (NYSE: NSR), the United States’ Local Number Portability (LNP) Administrator, today released a white paper by Yankee Group entitled “ Number Portability Through the Global Lens.” The white paper looks at the varied number portability implementations in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Brazil and India and finds that geography, population, subscriber makeup, technology, and implementation timelines unique to these countries result in systems designed for specific markets – and that systems and approaches designed for one market are not easily transferrable to another market. As the paper points out, “[y]ou can’t take a number portability implementation from one country and port it over to another.”
The paper does find several common threads in countries where number portability is successful, including recognition that: (1) number portability implementations are invariably highly complex; (2) number portability is dependent upon an effective partnership between carriers and regulators; and (3) number portability implementations, like all elements of today’s communications infrastructure, must be flexible to adapt to evolving markets.
Neustar commissioned the white paper from Yankee Group, an independent research firm with expertise in the technology and telecommunications industries. Commenting on the white paper, Steve Edwards, senior vice president, Carrier Services from Neustar noted: “While telecom systems across the globe vary, one thing holds true – consumers rely upon number portability to sustain choice and competition. There are various models for delivering this critical service, but this report clearly illustrates that some are more successful, tested and neutral than others.” Mr. Edwards continued, “Neustar is proud of our record of performance and customer satisfaction as a tested, reliable and neutral administrator for local number portability in the United States.”
Yankee Group’s findings indicate a wide variety of experiences across the globe when it comes to implementing number portability with each country having its own “lessons learned.” For example, based on the experience of the United Kingdom, the white paper concludes that portability designs that place the highest premium on neutrality and the consumer experience are more successful than alternatives, and attempts to revisit technology decisions after the fact are far more costly than making the right decisions at the start. In its analysis on Brazil, Yankee Group found that number portability can be successful even in a highly complex, large country market with a carefully thought-out rollout plan and operator participation.