Will glitches slow down switching?

A cynic would file it under “conspiracy theory” but I feel that the enormous number of glitches which cropped up in the number switching as part of the “wireless freedom” movement are an underhanded way of the phone companies to curb infidelity. The six carriers have known for years, not months that this change is coming! They have been fleecing us and charging us fees for number portability. But then why the glitches?

Greg Gorbatenko of Loop Capital seems to agree with us, and in his daily note writes that “some customers that do want to switch are being prevented from doing so by glitches.  We believe glitches will somewhat mute the effects of WNP and continue to look for industry churn in the fourth quarter of around 4%.”

RBC Capital Markets, another brokerage did its own research and found that “despite an outwardly smooth process at several carriers, none of (its 25) requests have succeeded at porting a wireless voice number between carriers. Less significantly, we have seen partial success in caller ID and text messaging e.g., on some phones the ability on some phones to place outbound calls and having the recipient’s caller ID correctly display the ported number and/or the ability to send text messages to the ported number and receive the message on the correct handset.”

Cingular the company which jump started the PR stunts around the number portability is one of the bigger culprits, and RBC says that “Cingular’s process efficiency at activating/porting numbers seems to us to be below that of the other national carriers. Also, we were made aware of GSM activation issues at AT&T Wireless on Sunday and Monday in a few markets, presumably related to the GSM back-office issues at that carrier earlier this month.”