The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

I recently commented on the proposal to allow mobile phone numbers to remain with customers when/if they switched wireless providers. Here now is the other side of the coin, from the providers' vantage point.

It's interesting that the wireless companies and the advertising community would have such diametrically opposed predictions on the impact here. Do the wireless people really believe it will create more (and unnecessary) competition? Or are the advertisers right that the removal of this last (albiet surmountable, for many people) barrier to random switching will lead to de facto consolidation?

I tend to go with the advertisers' version. The argument by the wireless industry that this will lead to more competition by virtue of better customer service and more customer perks is not that believable, at least not for the long term. Things like that add costs, and at a certain point, they can't be justified no matter how many customers they may net. When that happens, a company will just bow out of the running. That means one less competitor, leaving fewer options for everyone.