Re: Portability Issues (was: cell phones & do not call) [telecom]

Bill Ranck wrote:

>> Lisa Hancock wrote: >>> I think number portability is between cell phones only, >>> not between a cell phone and a land line. I think all >>> cell phones still remain in certain designated exchanges. >>> Anyone know of examples where cellphones share an exchange >>> with a conventional landline? >> Nope, number portability is required between landlines and >> cell phones now. I have a cell phone in my pocket right >> now that has the number from my now non-existent landline. > There are, however, various technical and tariff issues that > often make the transfer from competing service types difficult. > And, let's not forget, there are plenty of players who don't > follow the rules or make things overly difficult. > > The key issue is that of "rate center". In most cases, > the new number has to be "homed" in the same rate center > as the original one.


In reality it gets even more confusing. Many area codes have > multiple rate centers in them, even though all calls in that > area might be considered "local". For example, NYC has, umm, > something like 15 of them, so a phone number that's "homed" > in South Brooklyn, for example, can NOT be transferred to > an upper Manhattan location.

And just to clarify fo those who don't know, or might be under typical misconceptions...

"Rate Center" is not the same as "Wire Center".

A Rate Center is a "legal" item, something defined by tariff indicating a region where everything (usually) has the same BILLING or RATING criteria. It is NOT (necessarily) the same thing as a "switch coverage" area, i.e., the region covered by a central office *SWITCH* aka "Wire Center", these latter terms being more "technical" or "network", rather than "legal" or "regulatory" (billing and rating).

What's really confusing is that while you can kind-of figure > out where a landline number is homed, you've got to have > access to the double super secret internal charts to know > the similar location for a cellular phone. Or, for that > matter, a VOIP one. > > Just try taking a VOIP number and moving it to a landline... > > It used to be worse, with the NNXs based on the actual central > office, meaning there were dozens and dozens of discrete > little pockets.

Something else to remember or consider...

IIRC, the FCC/etc. only requires that (intra-landline) portability be provided if you want to change telcos/carriers, while still remaining in the same rate center.

(BTW, a central office switch or wire center can can serve customers in multiple rate center areas. Most CLECs are set up like this even in dense metro areas. There have to be dedicated (NPA)NXX office codes for each rate center though, even though all customers could be served off the same switch).

Most telcos will allow (or are "supposed" to allow) you to port your service including number between each other as long as the same rate center is involved. While there is no "technical" or "network" problem involved (in most cases), if you want to port your number because of a physical move, BETWEEN central office

*switches* in the same community, and stay with the same incumbent local telco as well (the "Bell" or "independent"), if you are in a large city (and sometimes smaller town in some cases) where there are MULTIPLE central office switches...

SOME telcos *DO* allow this, OTHER telcos (normally) either do NOT allow this, or else put up roadblocks to discourage you from doing this. In the long run, it would be to that ILEC's advantage to PERMIT this type of port, but some telcos just don't allow this (unless you probably threaten to go to regulatory, or else go higher-up within the telco complaining to the right people in the right department/etc).

Bell Canada and BellSouth (now at&t) are known to usually NOT allow such intra-company geographic ports which, while still in the same rate center, would be a physical move between serving central office switches.

Qwest (formerly US West) Embarq (formerly Sprint, at least Centel in Las Vegas) have been known to allow such intra-company geograhic ports within the rate center between central offices due to a physical move.

One *COULD* migrate from the ILEC to some CLEC such as the cable-TV company's telco, prior to the geographic move. Then, when moving their household across town, tell Cable-TV's phone company about the move. Most CLECs have only ONE switch serving huge geographic territries, even in large metro areas. As long as one doesn't cross rate center boundaries with their physical move, the CLEC will allow one to keep the same telephone number. After a year or two following the move, the incumbent telco will have already started sending mail-outs and maybe even "telemarketing", as part of a "win-back" -- where they want you to "port back" to them!

And since you did NOT move/port across rate center boundaries, they will HAVE to allow you to return to them with your original number that you ported-out when changing to the CLEC, even though you are now living in a different ILEC's central office switching region than you were prior to your move! And you will be served from that "new" (different) ILEC's switching office as well in your new neighberhood if you do agree to "port back".

If that's the case, WHY couldn't that ILEC simply allow you to port your number between their switches (still within the same rate center), when you had to make that geogaphic move a year earlier!? It would have meant better customer relations/impressions, and it would have been easier/simpler for telco in the short and long runs! IMO, the FCC and CRTC should have REQUIRED such ports as well, from the very beginning!

One known reason for NOT allowing such ports, and not so much a "technical" issue, but rather a "jurisdictional" or "numbering" issue, happened to US West (now Qwest) in "Twin Cities Metro" MN, and in the Phoenix AZ Metro areas, in the later 1990s.

Remember that Qwest (US West) usually DOES allow intra-company, inter-switch, still intra rate center ports, unlike Bell Canada and BellSouth. However, the Minn/St.Paul area code splits of the later 1990s, as well as the Phoenix AZ area code split of 1999, were based on poliiical jurisdictional boundaries, and NOT on telco rate center boundaries (there were other similar area code splits of the later 1990s as well).

With such splits in those two US West metro areas, if one ported their number, they might have ported across the new area code boundary. And state regulatory did not want this happening! US West had to prevent such ports. However, CLECs (and wireless) existed with the same NXX office codes (and single switch) regardless of geography (although within the same rate center). There was somewhat of a nightmare in both cities as to determining which area code certain CLEC and wireless customers fell in due to the split. The splits in both places (and other cities where such political jurisdictional splits happened which did not follow telco rate center boundaries) were rather MESSY area code splits! Also, in both cases, Minneapolis/St.Paul and Phoenix Metro, US West requested an overlay, but regulatory ordered the splits, and those rather messy splits as well.

- a.b.

Reply to
Anthony Bellanga
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As it happened, I passed a CO building today that serves multiple rate centers.

The building is near the city line. It serves both city exchanges and suburban exchanges. Although everything comes out of one building, the rates for the two sets are very different; one is suburban, one is city.

The city customers can call anywhere in the city untimed at level 1. The suburban customers may call only adjacenet city areas at level 1, everything else is level 2 or above. If the suburban customers want a city phone number (as many do to avoid message unit charges), they have to pay FX charges. (Level 1 is one untimed unit for msg rate customers, free for others).

Now, the message unit charges have been significantly reduced in recent years, but the basic arrangement remains to this day. Indeed, there are other buildings in the city that also have that arrangement with a nearby suburb.

We must remember that these kinds of rates and tarrifs were set up many years ago by the PUC as they saw best for 'universal service', not necessarily to match rates with costs, indeed, PUCs often didn't want to do that. City customers got a break, partly because high density meant greater efficiency, and partly because it was perceived that suburbanites were more affluent and could pay more (which was generally true.)

As an aside, the city post office did likewise with some suburban places--giving their mail out of a nearby city post office, and using the same city zip code. In recent years, many suburbanites objected to having a city zip code and pressured the post office to give them their own zip code. This was because ratables are done by zip code and suburbanites didn't like lower ratings from a city zip. I can't blame for that.

Reply to

Does "exchange" mean rate center or wire center?

I know the difference, but when I complained to my state's public utility commission about lies from SBC/AT&T, I got more lies about why my number couldn't be moved to a different RATE center.

My story: I requested local number portability from one location to another, both within the Chicago metropolitan area. The initial lie I was given was that the FCC portability regulations PROHIBIT SBC/AT&T from letting me keep my telephone number.

When I mentioned that the portability database is nothing more than a database dip and could easily be used to redirect where the number terminates, that's when they told me the lie.

When I asked about alternatives, they offered to let me have voice mail without a land line but for merely 180 days. When I asked for other alternatives, they offered none. I even knew to ask about foreign exchange service, which they claimed was no longer offered. I even knew to request to be transferred to the milage clerk who is trained to write up such an order; they claimed they no longer existed.

For amusement, I passed the lie along to my state PUC which got a laugh out of it. The "executive callback center" finally called me back today, but the clerks hadn't bothered to look into the situation at all. I then asked for a callback from someone familiar with number portability, but instead got a supervisor who gave me the "different rate center" excuse.

Two different clerks claimed that land line to cell portability is possible because "cell phones use towers". While cell phones really don't have a central office concept, they still have some machine analogous to a switch that interfaces with the telephone network. All the telephone company is doing when porting a number to cell is sending calls to that interface point.

Then two different clerks claimed that cell telephone numbers could NOT be ported to land line with this excuse: because cell numbers don't have rating points! Actually, that's not true. The concept has almost no use when rating a call originating on a cell phone since so many cell phone plans charge long distance as plan minutes, the same as local calls, but a call into the cell phone may be rated according to the cell phone's rate center.

If a subscriber has a cell phone whose rate center is near the billing address, that's merely coincidence since so few subscribers would even know to ask for such a number and fewer still would care.

Oh yeah.

Name names. Whom do I request this from? I've already gone to the state PUC and that still didn't get me a truthful answer.

I'd do something along those lines if I could get a straight answer from someone at the phone company that they'd do it, without insisting on putting the original phone number back into its original geographic area.

You make an interesting point about cable companies have only one "wire center", but do they not split it up into rate centers? Does cable phone service have to file for a tariff to establish rate center boundaries with the state public utility commission?

That has been my assumption all along, but I can't get anyone at AT&T/SBC to admit that it's the case.

I've attempted to point this out too.

Reply to
Adam H. Kerman

One, the other, or both. Depends on context.

How do you know it was a "lie"? Where does it say landline numbers CAN be moved to _different_ rate centers?

AFAIK (as far as I know) and from what others have said, you cannot move a landline phone number to a _ different_ rate center. With good reason, as it could give you and people who call you an unfair rate discount.

If someone believe landlines are freely portable to different locations, could you provide a citation?

I believe Chicago, both city and suburbs, consists of multiple rate centers.

AFAIK, it is not "easily redirect the number" for landlines. If someone were to call 311-555-2368, the network switches the call to the 311-555 exchange, and the network is done. The remaining routing is done by the local exchange.

I'm surprised FX service is no longer offered since I know of many people who have it elsewhere. There is also a remote call forwarding service that many people have. With that, you get a listed local number in an area, and all calls are automatically forwarded to where you actually are (you of course pay for toll or message unit charges, if any.)

It's more complicated than that. Cell phones by definition are portable--you do not have to be in your 'home' exchange to get a cell phone call; you can be anywhere and the system will find you. That makes portability simpler.

Reply to

You know, if you'd read all the way to the next paragraph, which you even quoted below, I summarized the lie I was told.

We've all been discussing that it's policy, not technical.

That doesn't make sense.

Someone doesn't believe that. Someone asked his phone company a straight question but failed to receive a straight answer.

Thanks for telling me about my own situation that I'd already described.

In this day of electronic switching and routing? Of course not.

I don't actually believe that it's not offered. When I follow up with the state public utility commission, I'll ask.

They refused to sell something like that to me as well.

These comments are irrelevant to how the cell phone network interfaces with the land line network.

Not really. They still use the largely inapplicable concept of rate centers, I guess by tariff, which as the OP discussed in a different followup, could give a landline phone company an excuse not to port a number from cell to landline.

Reply to
Adam H. Kerman

Thank you for your post and the detail in which you described all of the differences between a Rate Center and a Wire Center. I am not familiar with any of these processes, so if what I ask you here has already been answered or is common knowledge, I apologize for that.

I would like to port over a number from Verizon Wireless to Qwest (as a land line). I was told this is no problem, but then when they checked the Verizon phone number, they said it was unable to be ported. I probed deeper with the customer service rep and they explained how the Verizon number was in a different Wire Center, etc. I did not want to accept that it was not possible to port the number to Qwest, so I called back and got a similar explanation. Again, I thought I'd try again and this time when I called, the Customer Service rep researched it for an hour +, then called back and explained how the Verizon number was in a different Rate Center, so it was not possible to port it from one rate center to another. This makes a lot more sense, especially with your explanation on the difference between a rate center and a wire center. You said several times that porting from one wire center to another is possible as long as it is in the same rate center. Is it possible to port from one rate center to another? If no, could you explain why? Is this something I can pursue and get done if I keep going up the ladder or should I leave it alone? The rate centers are in the same metro area of Salt Lake City.

Thank you!

Reply to

"Possible" has a number of meanings. Ask Bill Clinton.

The technology exists that would _permit_ it to be done.

There is no law that _requires_ that that particular capability be made available to anyone in that situation.

Telcos have good reasons to not want to do it -- allowing it would make a whole lot of things, including administrative, operational, and billing records-keeping, _much_, *MUCH*, messier.

The telcos have not made tariff filings to legally *offer* such a service to customers. Despite that, if the telco _wanted_ to, they could do it under the 'special services' tariff, *BUT* going that route gets _very_ expensive.

Summary, it is "_theoretically_ possible", however telcos have solid reasons for not doing it (unless -forced- to), and thus, it is 'administratively prohibited', as a matter of very-high-level policy.

"Anything is possible" -- someone once remarked he "could sell dead cats to the Board of Health, given a free hand, and a big enough budget."

That said, however, I would =not= rate the chances of success as at all good.

Doing it for -one- customer opens up a large industrial-size can of worms that no telco would _ever_ desire to get anywhere near.

I can't conceive of an amount of money 'big enough' to persuade any telco to wade into that swamp.

And I can't see an individual -- even a J. Paul Getty type -- shelling out the probable billions for _that_ approach, when for a -relative- pittance (probably in the low millions, _max_) one could buy a 'landing spot' inside the particular rate center, establish a back-haul to your premises across town (either telco provided, or private wire on rented pole space)

*and* fund the operation thereof 'in perpetuity'.

OTOH, if you _do_ manage to accomplish it, you could open a school teaching aspiring Don Quixote's, and charge _anything_you_liked_!! *grin*

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