A recent survey by Management Network Group, a communications research firm, revealed that 6% of cell-phone users — some 8.7 million people — would switch carriers within a day if they could take their phone numbers with them. Some 27%, or 39 million customers, said they would switch providers as soon as they received a better offer. Better than 50% of those who experienced service issues in the past year said they would at some point switch carriers.
When number portability kicks in on November 24th, the mobile phone industry is going to freak out. Hardcore. Customers will be able to switch carriers and keep their numbers, and chances are they will.
The article mentions a bunch of things that the mobile phone companies can do to keep customers. They can improve customer service, they can make billing easier to understand, etc. My favorite is pointing out that if you’re charging your customers for number portability, why wouldn’t your customers use what they’re paying for? All very feel good, pro-customer ideas – which is why the mobile phone companies will avoid them like the plague.
Instead, I expect longer contract terms, higher fees for canceling contracts, and maybe better deals from those contracts. The deals are pretty good right now, on Amazon you can find contracts that give you phones for negative prices, so I don’t know how much better those deals can get. The article also says that the industry won’t start competing on price, which I’m not sure of. I do know that the industry is very far removed from what it’s customers actually want, so don’t expect a happyfun response from an industry that hates its customers.