Wireless portability in China?

China is working on wireless local number portability (WLNP) with the objective to roll out the new policy as early as 2009. Trials are already under way in Shenzhen and Tianjin. Experience has shown us that asymmetrical regulatory measures are usually needed to balance telecommunication operators and reduce market control of dominant/incumbent  operators.

Unfortunately they are not always as effective as expected. Only about 8% of customers said they would use WLNP service, according to an internal survey of operators. The low percentage is not surprising. It actually mirrors empirical studies. For example, in the Korean mobile market subscribers kept perceiving the switching barrier as high, hence discouraging them from switching carriers. Moreover carriers develop new subscriber lock-in strategies that make them stay with current carriers. In addition, there is a technical issue since some handsets may be incompatible with other networks (GSM, CDMA). Finally, some scholars have argued that under WLNP number prefix has no indicative power, thus reducing the level of information available to consumers.

P.S.: There is evidence that number portability has improved competition in the market (e.g. in the USA) despite the perception gap