Mobile phone users to benefit from number portability

Mobile phone number portability, due to come into effect on the September 25, is expected to inject new levels of competition into the telecommunications industry, according to stockbroking analysts quoted in the Australian Financial Review.

They predict that mobile phone rates and prices will fall even though Telstra has said that it will not lower their prices to keep customers.

Number portability will allow users to change carriers or service providers while maintaining their current number. Some believe prices will have to fall as other carriers find it easier to tempt customers away from each other, especially from Telstra which has a stranglehold on the market.

According to a survey done by the Australian Communications Authority last month, 78 per cent of users were not aware that the change was on the way. Small to medium businesses will most benefit avoiding the costs of stationary reprinting, advertising changes and vehicle detailing when changing mobile service providers. conducted a survey on its PhoneChoice website in July this year asking consumers how important it was to them that they keep their number when changing service providers. 76% said that it was very important to them, 20% said it was preferrable while 4% said it was not very important to them.

Another PhoneChoice survey in February this year asked how many people were waiting for number portability before upgrading their handset. 58 per cent of respondents said yes they were waiting for number portability before considering a change of providers.

InfoChoice is currently conducting another survey to test consumer awareness of the impending changes.

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