FCC Contracts New Number Portability Administrator

On March 26, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) conditionally granted a five-year contract to Ericsson’s Telcordia to manage the U.S. government’s local number portability database, which provides telephone subscribers a way to keep their phone numbers when they switch from one provider to another.  Telcordia will replace Neustar, which has administered the service since 1997.

According to the FCC, more than 100,000 numbers are ported daily.  Businesses must use this database to ensure compliance with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), which prohibits automatic telephone dialing system (“ATDS”) or prerecorded calls to cell phones without prior express oral or written consent.  47 C.F.R. § 64.1200(a).

However, TCPA regulations do provide a safe harbor for placing a call to a number which has been ported from a landline to a cell phone if the call was made within 15 days of porting the number, and the number is not on the national “do-not-call” registry or the caller’s internal “do-not-call” list.  Id. at (a)(iv).

You must, therefore, “scrub” against the ported numbers database at least every 15 days.  The safe harbor runs from when the line is ported, not from when the line appears on the ported numbers database (and when any business would have any reasonable way of knowing the number had been ported).