Moves Towards Number Portability in Canada

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The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) has submitted its plans for wireless number portability to the Canadian government, following submissions to industry partners. The 64-page report, completed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) earlier this month, examined the hundreds of technical, inter-carrier and regulatory tasks and issues that need to be addressed in order for telecommunications companies to offer number portability.

After a full review of the report by the CWTA’s WNP Task Force, the group has identified mid-2007 as the timeframe for a pilot trial to begin testing WNP in a limited area. WNP, which will enable customers to transfer phone numbers between wireless service providers and also between landline and wireless service, is set to be available on a national basis in September 2007.

Unlike the “phased-in” approach adopted by some other jurisdictions where WNP was introduced in different geographic areas over an extended period of time, WNP in Canada will become available to the vast majority of consumers and enterprise customers from coast to coast at the same time. The WNP Task Force believes this is a significant implementation strategy that will offer an equitable, smooth and reliable introduction of the new service for all Canadians.

The target implementation date that has been identified by the wireless industry is contingent upon the timely resolution of a number of outstanding issues, and the full cooperation of Canada’s telecommunications sector. However, the WNP Task Force will begin the implementation process immediately and will provide progress updates as warranted.

“Canada will be only the third country in the world to offer complete wireless-to-wireless, wireless-to-wireline and wireline-to-wireless portability,” said Peter Barnes, CWTA President & CEO. “The implementation timeline we are announcing today is aggressive given the complexities of introducing WNP, but Canada’s wireless industry is confident in its ability to deliver this new service to Canadians.”

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