A new report released today found that Americans have the fastest wireless number portability system in the world, resulting in billions of dollars in annual savings for wireless consumers. The report also found that any disruption to the number portability system’s efficiency could potentially have a significant impact on wireless consumers.
Neustar, Inc. (NYSE:NSR) currently administers the United States’ number portability system, enabling consumers to take their phone numbers to a new carrier quickly and inexpensively. Number portability has been a driver of innovation and competition in the U.S. wireless market over the past decade.
U.S. wireless consumers benefited from annual savings of $8-10 billion between 2005 and 2010 due to Mobile Number Portability (MNP), according to a report by Navigant Economics Managing Director Hal J. Singer. In his report, “The Consumer Benefits of an Efficient Mobile Number Portability System,” Singer attributes the savings to an efficient and reliable number portability infrastructure that simplifies the process to port, or transfer, a phone number from one carrier to another, therefore lowering the barriers to changing service providers.
Reducing the time and cost involved in transferring a phone number to a new telecom carrier makes it easier for consumers to change service providers. An efficient MNP system encourages competition by giving consumers the freedom and confidence to switch service providers without having to give up their phone number. This level of competition fosters innovation, encouraging carriers to respond creatively to consumer demands.“This report demonstrates how important it is for U.S. consumers to continue to have the gold standard number portability system,” said Steve Edwards, Neustar’s senior vice president for Carrier Services. “As the administrator of this crucial element of the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure, Neustar continually meets the demands of an ever-changing industry in a way that enhances competition and benefits consumers.” “The U.S. regime is by far the most efficient MNP regime in the world when it comes to porting a wireless line to a new carrier in the shortest amount of time,” Singer said in the report. “By reducing switching costs, an efficient MNP regime promotes significant benefits for wireless consumers.”