Yankee Group

Yankee Group

October 19, 2005 08:31 ET

2007 Is a Rational Deadline for Wireless Number Portability; Canada's Number Portability Will Have Limited Impact on the Wireless Market

BOSTON--(CCNMatthews - Oct 19, 2005) -

Yankee Group stated that the proposed September 12, 2007 deadline for wireless number portability (WNP) in Canada is a realistic and rational timeframe. Recently, the Canadian Wireless Telecom Association (CWTA) has encountered criticism in the media for proposing a number portability deadline 2 years in the future.

Critics have argued that the 2-year deadline is too lenient, especially for a country that is significantly behind in wireless penetration compared to other developed nations. However, a Yankee Group DecisionNote(SM)--2007 Is Not Too Late for Number Portability in Canada--argues that Canada's 2007 deadline is a realistic and fair timeframe, given necessary deployment times for network upgrades, implementation plans and trial testing periods.

Not only is the proposed 2007 deadline a rational timeframe, but it is one of the better WNP plans worldwide to date. Specifically, it suggests: a simultaneous nationwide WNP launch available to all customers; an average porting time period of 2.5 hours and a rational 2-year deadline. A portability plan of this quality requires significant upfront investment, testing and preparation. What little leniency there is in the deadline provides a buffer against delays and allows the operators some room for unforeseen complications. This is to ensure Canada does not repeat the same mistake that the United States made--expanding a 2-year deadline into a 7-year odyssey. Critics of the CWTA's proposed plan should recognize the benefits of the proposed WNP plan and refocus their energy on ensuring that the 2007 deadline is strictly adhered to.

Regardless of whether Canada deploys number portability now or in 2007, it will still have limited impact and influence on the Canadian wireless market. The Canadian market has always been a highly concentrated industry with three distinct players dominating the landscape, leaving little room for significant competition to threaten any carrier's subscriber base. Yankee Group highlights several reasons why Canada's WNP rollout will have little impact on the market, including:

-- The addressable wireless market in Canada remains small, and although MVNO growth in Canada is increasing, it is unlikely that MVNOs will garner the same scale and market share that they have in the United States

-- Regardless of the competition, the Canadian wireless market will remain an oligopoly landscape dominated by Bell Mobility, Rogers Wireless and TELUS

-- Canadian wireless subscribers remain split on whether they would switch wireless carriers if number portability were introduced

"As one of the last developed countries to implement a WNP plan, strict adherence to the 2-year deadline is critical for a smooth and successful deployment. This will ensure that Canada does not emulate the United States' 7-year deployment scheduling experience," said Marina Amoroso, Yankee Group analyst, Canadian Market Strategies. "In addition, Canadian vendors and carriers need to prioritize WNP implementation as one of their key initiatives for 2006 and 2007 to ensure compliance and keep Canada's wireless market on pace with other developed nations."

For interviews contact:

Marina Amoroso, Yankee Group, 617-880-0216, mamoroso@yankeegroup.com

Christina Oh, Racepoint Group, 781-487-4611, coh@racepointgroup.com

Elisa Roberts, Yankee Group, 617-880-0333, eroberts@yankeegroup.com

YANKEE GROUP (www.yankeegroup.com)

At Yankee Group, we help our clients succeed by providing the knowledge, tools and support they need to make winning decisions when business opportunities intersect with technology solutions. In business more than 35 years, Yankee Group knows the importance of listening to and understanding the needs of our clients. We deliver value through authoritative, innovative and flexible research products and consulting services. Whether challenges are rooted in planning, executing or optimizing the use of technology, Yankee Group's world-renowned analysts transform market intelligence and practical, real-world experience into valuable decision support. Headquartered in Boston, Yankee Group research and sales staffs are located around the world, including North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.

Contact Information