The Impact of Wireless Number Portability Regulations
Senior Technical Analyst on Local Number Portability Illuminet
Introduction Number portability is a circuit-switch network feature that provides consumes with the ability to change service providers, locations, or service types without changing their telephone numbers. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 mandated competition in all aspects of the telecommunications industry. With this, Congress directed local phone companies to offer telephone number portability. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) led the charge to ensure implementation of Number Portability (NP). The initial rollout of NP in 1997 affected only ...view middle of the document...
A decision on geographic portability implementation was deferred in this report.
The routing information includes the location routing number (LRN), which is a 10-digit NANPformatted Network Routing Address assigned to a switch. Of these 10 digits, the first six (i.e. NPANXX) serve as the network address and issued to route calls to ported numbers. The LRN is obtained by querying a NPDB using a directory number as the input. The LRN contained in the response is then used to route the call to the recipient (new SP) switch. If the dialed number has not ported the call will be complete as usual to the original customer switch. For an existing switch, the LRN is assigned from a ‘homed’ NPANXX code unique to one carrier.
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The Second Order and Report also addressed call blocking. The order instructed that localexchange carriers (LECs) are allowed to block defaulted routing calls from wireless carriers, in specific circumstances - when failure to do so is likely to impair the network. Some incumbent local-exchange carriers (ILECs) misinterpreted this to mean blocking unqueried calls from wireless carriers was permitted. Much of this confusion has been straightened out through the LNP Regional Operation team meetings. In the spirit of cooperation, as wireline and wireless carriers attend these joint meetings, such issues eventually get resolved. The Third Order and Report covered cost recovery and query responsibility. In terms of wireline or wireless carriers query responsibility, obtaining routing information to a ported telephone number, the N-minus-one carrier (i.e., the carrier immediately prior to the terminating carrier) is responsible for performing the query to a Number Portability DataBase (NPDB) to retrieve the LRN. If involved, an InterExchange (IXC) carrier would typically be the N-1 carrier. On February 9, 1999 the FCC issued a stay and forbearance in which the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau granted the wireless industry a nine-month implementation stay, as requested by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA). The FCC further decided that wireless portability implementation would be extended until November 24, 2002. This is typically known as Phase II of number portability.
The FCC also instructed the North American Numbering Council (NANC) to determine which number portability method to employ. Several routing methods were investigated but the Location Routing Number (LRN) method appeared to be the most efficient and is now successfully implemented in the wireline arena. The NANC then initiated the Local Number Portability Working Group (LNPA-WG) and it’s appropriate sub-committees as needed. Subcommittees convened thus far include the National Number Pooling, Slow Horse, as well as the Wireless Number Portability, which identifies integration issues between the wireless and the wireline industries. What Is Number Portability, and How Is It...