Beginning January 16th the people of Chile will have the right to port their existing phone numbers to a new operator thanks to a new number portability law. It’s something that many Europeans and Americans have been enjoying for some time now, so it’s nice to see the practice come to other countries. What makes Chile’s number portability law even more exciting is that it also forbids anyone from selling locked devices in the country. So let’s say you sign up with Movistar and get an iPhone 4S. By law Movistar can’t lock your phone, so you can switch to someone like Claro and not only be able to keep the same phone, but also the same phone number. It sounds bleedingly obvious that this is how things should work all along, but what do you expects when companies are left to regulate themselves? Of course they’re going to make things harder for consumers in an attempt to reduce churn, which is defined as customers leaving one network for another.
While we’re on the topic of laws, there’s something we want to see happen in America. Operators like AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon regularly offer consumers devices for between $50 and $300 and consumers think that’s how much the phones actually cost. If it were up to us, we would make it mandatory for operators to list how much of a customer’s monthly bill goes towards paying off the device said customer has. Such a move would start a discussion as to how much phone service really costs, how much devices really cost, and who knows, maybe America will become more like Europe and Asia where people buy their devices and their service from two different companies. There’s just something weird about people thinking $600 is the right price for a notebook, yet that’s somehow an obscene amount for a top of the line smartphone.
[Via: The Verge]