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ComCom proposes continuation of number portability

03 Nov 2016

The Commerce Commission is proposing to continue the regulation of number portability.

In a draft determination released this week, the Commission seeks to extend number portability services for both local and mobile telephone numbers for a further five years.

Number portability enables a customer to switch telecommunications providers while retaining the same telephone number.

Local and cellular telephone number portability are both regulated services under the Telecommunications Act 2001. The first number portability determination was issued in 2005 and took effect in 2007. It was then extended in 2010 for a further six years.

The current determination is set to expire in December this year.

According to Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale, the draft determination included proposals to make some changes to the number portability terms to improve its efficiency and workability. "Being able to keep the same phone number makes it much easier and convenient for consumers to switch between providers, which well over a million New Zealanders have done since number portability was introduced in 2007,” explains Gale.

“This enhances competition in the market as it removes a disincentive for consumers to leave their current provider if they see a better deal elsewhere,” he says.

Gale says the Commerce Commission is proposing to extend number portability through to December 2021 with some minor changes.

“These include extending the standard hours of operation to guarantee consumers can switch providers on a Saturday. We also intend to tidy up some terms to make it easier for telecommunications providers to undertake network updates,”: Gale says.

Submissions close on 1 December 2016.

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