The FCC has ruled that cell phone users can take their numbers with them when they change service. Is this a victory for consumers? It is in the sense that the phone company owned the number before and they do now, so the transfer of wealth is now going to go from the phone company to the consumer, not the other way around. But I also anticipate more expensive and draconian upfront service agreements--if phone companies can't lock customers in as much (and they were never much good at this) they're going to try and get more of their money upfront.Could it be argued though that the competition for new subscribers that goes on today will simply be applied to those who currently have cell service? After all, I am pretty much not the target of any cell phone adverts right now. If Verizon, Sprint PCS, T-mobile, AT&T and Cingular suddenly all want my business, wouldn't they attempt to appeal to me somehow?
Of course they would. But, if the current state of the industry is to offer long term contracts for lower monthly bills to NEW subscribers (even when the subscriber gets locked into the service by leveraging the number lock) then why would they not do that with those with service plans? What would stop them from doing that when people can come and go while keeping that one killer feature?
I suppose you'd have to tempt the subscriber with money, in the form of savings or perhaps in the form of contract buyouts, just like credit cards or car sales. "If you come over to us, and agree to a 2 year contract, we'll pay x amount of dollars towards your contract cancellation fee."
I'd have to guess that there would be at least a drop in monthly fees.