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Verizon Wireless reverses stance on wireless LNP

Verizon Wireless, one of the most vocal opponents of wireless local number portability, apparently has had a change of heart--or at least strategy--as it has decided to shift its focus and energy from battling the FCC’s mandate to being ready when it takes effect on November 24.

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Speaking at The Yankee Group conference in New York City yesterday, Verizon Wireless president and CEO Denny Strigl outlined a three-pronged strategy that would ensure the carrier’s ability to “get this right for the consumer or risk justifiable backlash from current and potential customers.”

Verizon Wireless initially will not tack a cost-recovery charge onto customers’ bills, even though the carrier already has invested more than $60 million into the LNP effort and despite the fact some competitors already are charging customers for number portability. After it determines its ongoing LNP costs, the carrier will develop a cost-recovery strategy, said Strigl, who added that the ongoing costs shouldn’t be “much more” than 10 cents to 15 cents per customer. In addition, Verizon Wireless won’t charge any one-time fees to port numbers.

Finally, the carrier will not try to recover any outstanding monies owed by customers before it ports their numbers to another carrier. “There must be no barriers to easily switching service providers,” Strigl said.

The strategy shift is not a knee-jerk reaction to the decision three weeks ago by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that stopped the effort led by Verizon Wireless and the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association to block the mandate, said Jeffrey Nelson, a spokesman for the carrier.

“It’s something that [Strigl] and the senior staff have been thinking about for some time,” Nelson said. “They got to the point where they realized you can’t oppose LNP until midnight on November 23 and then when the stores open on November 24 have it implemented, in place and easy for customers to do.”

Nelson added that Verizon Wireless would not participate in any further appeals or support any regulatory or legal processes to delay or eliminate wireless LNP. “It’s difficult for a business to go on a two-track path,” Nelson said.

Verizon Wireless was motivated to push forward its own plan for LNP because the FCC has failed to provide any direction, said Nelson. “At the last meeting the FCC told us they would require LNP, told us the date, then got up and turned out the lights.”

Nelson added that Verizon Wireless hopes its competitors “will see the industrywide benefit in doing things the same way we are going to do them on November 24.”

And if they don’t? “That’s their problem,” Nelson said.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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