Portability Database Now Available for Telemarketers

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NeuStar has made a database of telephone numbers that have been switched from landlines to wireless phones available for download for a subscription rate of $1,000 a year.


The database should help telemarketers avoid calls to wireless phones, which are illegal under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act when made using automated dialing equipment. Wireless number portability, which launched in November, allows consumers to keep the same telephone number when switching wireless carriers or from a landline to a wireless phone, but telemarketers have had no way to track the switches.


NeuStar is the private telephone network administrator in charge of maintaining the national database of telephone number switches. Its landline-to-wireless database is available at tcpacompliance.com.


A NeuStar spokesman did not return a call for questions yesterday. Rick Stauffer, chief operating officer of telemarketing compliance firm PossibleNOW, said the database launched last week and already contains 300,000 telephone numbers.


Compliance providers are allowed to buy access to the database to share it with their clients. However, like the national no-call list, clients must each buy a $1,000-a-year subscription on their own even if they receive the database from a compliance provider.


The Federal Communications Commission is still considering whether to enact a wireless portability safe harbor for telemarketers. The Direct Marketing Association has asked for a 30-day grace period to allow telemarketers to remove ported numbers from their calling lists.


So far, the FCC has not filed any complaints for violations of the cell-phone telemarketing ban because of wireless number portability.


A subscription to tcpacompliance.com allows users daily, unlimited access to the portability database. However, obtaining updates on a daily basis would be "quite a burden," Stauffer said.


PossibleNOW is letting its clients decide how often to download updates from the database, Stauffer said. However, he said he thinks getting updates on a monthly basis should be enough to satisfy regulators.


"You just have to do your best right now," he said.


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