The Federal Communications Commission today extended the deadline for the "portability" rule that will require wireless carriers to let consumers keep their phone numbers when they switch providers.
The new date is Nov. 24, 2003, a year later than the previous FCC deadline. FCC officials agreed that the carriers needed more time to meet the deadline, considering most of them are in difficult financial situations right now.
Several carriers have opposed the rule, citing technical headaches. Verizon Wireless requested that the FCC eliminate the requirement altogether, arguing that the lack of a portability rule hasnt stopped Americans from switching carriers: industry figures, including those compiled by the FCC, show that a third of Americans do switch.
"In its recent competition report, the FCC found that the wireless market is working to generate consumer benefits through vigorous and growing competition," said Jeffrey Nelson, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless in Bedminster, N.J. "We are disappointed that the FCC did not follow through on those findings today and instead chose to intervene in that market by maintaining a costly and technically complex regulatory mandate."
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