Telephone customers in large U.S. metropolitan markets will be able to transfer their home phone numbers to their cell phones, allowing them to drop their landline service altogether without having to get a new number. The new rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission will also allow some wireless customers to keep their numbers if they switch over to landline phones. “This give consumers much sought-after flexibility and if provides further competitive stimulus to telephone industry competition,” says FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. As many as 7 million people use their cell phones exclusively, and another 19 million are likely to drop their landline service for cellular once the rules go into effect.

AP 11 Nov 2003