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Can't Take It With You

Hold the phone! Number, that is. Your cell carrier will, at least for now.

If history is any measure, a third of you will change cell phone carriers this year and leave your numbers behind. More people would switch providers if it didn't mean changing business cards and notifying contacts, says Roger Entner, program manager of Yankee Group Wireless Mobile Services. Would you pay less than a dollar in monthly taxes to take your number with you as you do for landline portability?

Wireless carriers say they can't afford the billion-dollar database needed to forward calls to new providers. Consumer advocates say carriers are overestimating the cost of something they don't want to implement. "Carriers don't want to make it easier for customers to leave," Entner explains.

When we caught up with him, Rudy Baca, global and wireless analyst for the Precursor Group, predicted that unless it heard from phone users in the next few months, the FCC would side with carriers and push implementation to the end of 2003. He was right: In July, the FCC ruled to extend that deadline to November 24, 2003.


Mike Hogan is Entrepreneur's technology editor. Write him at mhogan@entrepreneur.com.

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This article was originally published in the August 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Can't Take It With You.

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