Number portability spurred on by government contract

24 Nov 2006

The federal government in Ottawa is poised to become the first beneficiary of its own mobile telephony regulations, which stipulate the introduction of mobile number portability (MNP). Ottawa is looking for a better deal for government workers from cellular network operators and will cut its three main providers down to two with a new contract that starts in March, the same time that MNP is scheduled to take effect. The government currently buys wireless services from Bell Mobility, TELUS and Rogers Wireless. It does not want to phase one out without MNP in place, because of the logistical problems of a large number of employees being forced to switch phone numbers. The companies have until 15 December to submit bids for a two-year contract to supply the government with all its mobile handsets and PDAs. The government is the largest purchaser of wireless services in Canada, spending CAD40 million (USD35 million) a year, with around 78,000 cellphone and 20,000 PDA subscribers.