Firms Ready to Switch Carriers

Almost one-quarter of large businesses are poised to switch wireless carriers.

Almost one-quarter of large businesses are poised to switch wireless carriers once they can keep their phone numbers, according to a study released last week.

A survey of 100 companies by The Management Network Group Inc. found that 24 percent of businesses with more than 500 employees are prepared to switch once carriers are required to port numbers, beginning Nov. 24. TMNG is readying proprietary modeling software to help carriers forecast the impact of number portability on their subscriber base.

The survey findings support a recent federal court decision rejecting the wireless industrys effort to undo the number portability obligation.

Large enterprises and wireless

  • 85 percent say wireless is somewhat or very important to business
  • 45 percent say future spending on wireless will increase
  • 50 percent say they waited more than a month to resolve billing problems

Source: TMNG survey of 100 companies with 500-plus employees; 9.8 percent margin of error

The court—and the survey—found that the inability to keep a number when switching is a barrier to changing carriers. For 60 percent of the companies polled, wireless service is very important to the success of their business. The companies represent a wide range of industries and on average use 128 handsets.

More than half of the companies subscribe to more than one wireless carrier, and a third in that category said they are likely to consolidate accounts once they can keep their phone numbers.

Dissatisfaction with wireless services today centers on billing complaints, according to the study. Forty-four percent of businesses with billing problems said they had to call their service provider at least four times before a problem was fixed.

Pent-up churn may be greater than the industry realizes. "Twelve percent of the companies said they would churn within the first 90 days of WNP [wireless number portability]," said Jeff Maszal, head of the research practice at TMNG, in Bethesda, Md.