FCC gets one right for a change

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Federal court approves cellular number portability
Hallelujah. Today, a federal court rejected an appeal from wireless companies and ruled that consumers should have the right to retain their old phone numbers when switching carriers.

Consumer advocates say the inability to retain numbers is one of the biggest barriers preventing more cell phone users from switching in search of better service and prices. The Federal Communications Commission is requiring wireless carriers to provide “number portability” by Nov. 24. In April, attorneys for Verizon Wireless and the CTIA told a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that the FCC overstepped its authority by imposing the requirement. They said it will raise costs while doing little to increase competition. The court rejected that challenge, calling the FCC’s action “permissible and reasonable.” The court also said the cell phone companies waited too long to object to the rule.

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