Thu, Apr 03, 2014 - Page 4 News List

National Communications Commission mulls regulatory changes for shift to 4G

NUMBER PORTABILITY:While users can switch carriers while retaining their phone numbers now, regulatory changes are needed for the switch to 4G, the NCC said

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said it was considering amending regulations to allow telecom service users to switch to fourth-generation (4G) carriers without having to change phone numbers, adding that it was aiming to reduce the processing time to one day if customers stay with the same carrier.

Currently, mobile phone users can switch to a different carrier without having to change their telephone number because of the nation’s mobile number portability policy.

They can also continue using the same number if they want to migrate to a different service offered by the same carrier.

To change a carrier or a service, the user’s telephone number is submitted to the Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC), where the number is listed under the new carrier or service.

In general, applicants have to wait two days before they can start using the new service.

National Communications Commission acting spokesperson Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said yesterday that some 4G telecom carriers are scheduled to launch their services this year, adding that some regulations have to be amended to allow users to migrate to 4G.

The regulations that need addressing include articles in the Telecommunications Act (電信法), Regulations Governing Number Portability and Regulations for Administration of Mobile Communications Business, Wong said.

“Our goal is to streamline the application procedures and relax the regulations,” Wong said.

The commission hopes to shorten the processing time to one day for a switch to a different service with the same carrier, said Liang Wen-hsing (梁溫馨), a specialist at the commission’s operational management department.

Liang added that it is now technically viable to do so.

Asked if the application process could be completed much faster by skipping the NPAC process, the commission said that it would create more disputes among carriers.

“If someone calls a certain number, the carrier can check with NPAC to see which carrier they should share the payment with for the call,” said Chen Ying-di, a section chief at the commission.

“For example, if a customer moves from Chunghwa Telecom to Asia Pacific Telecom and switches from 2G to 3G without letting a third-party carrier know, the third-party carrier could pay the wrong amount to the wrong carrier,” Chen said.

In other developments, the commission also relaxed regulations on sponsorship for television programs, allowing the names of specific products to become part of a television program’s title.

Currently, only telecom companies’ brands can be used to name television programs.

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