The Australian Telecommunications User Group (Atug) and West Australian telecommunications company, Westel yesterday announced a joint venture to develop number portability services for telecommunications carriers.
Number portability enables users to retain their telephone number when changing location, service provider or service.
Under the arrangement, Atug will represent the views and requirements of end users and Westel will provide the necessary commercial and software components for the service.
According to Allan Horsley, Atug managing director, Westel will run the service using a system already in use in the US.
Westel is building an advanced intelligent network and database that can be accessed by any of the service providers to enable them to offer their customers number portability as well as a full range of advanced network services.
Horsley told Computerworld, the arrangement provides an industry-neutral environment for number portability where carriers are not required to make capital investments or changes to their existing IT environments.
The arrangement with Westel has "taken the excuses out of the game" and pushes forward open competition for the benefit of end users, Horsley said.
Only announced yesterday morning at Atug's Now99 conference, Horsley said he suspects the service will initially receive a negative reaction from the carriers.
The service is expected to become available by the end of this year.