Cell Phone Numbers

Currently, cell phone users are not permitted to keep their phone number when switching to another wireless provider. But, beginning Monday, Nov. 24, the FCC is requiring cell phone companies to allow this.

Many cell phone companies have been charging in advance for this option under a lumped "current monthly recovery fee."

Consumer advocates say the local number portability fee is done this way to elude customers of this charge.

While the wireless industry contends that they are charging consumers early to help defray long-term costs, local cell phone users say this doesn't seem fair.

Even customers who plan to stay with their carrier will be charged this fee as well, after the Nov. 24 deadline.

The FCC has put no regulations on how much the companies can charge or for how long.

So far, the wireless industry has collected more than $630 million from portability fee charges.