Verizon Communications Inc. can continue to use information gleaned from competitors, who submit requests to port a user's number from Verizon to a new provider, for retention marketing purposes.
But in response to complaints from cable providers, Kris Anne Monteith, the chief of the enforcement bureau for the Federal Communications Commission, has recommended that the commission launch a rulemaking in order to make retention marketing practices consistent across all platforms.
Cable operators, including Bright House Networks, Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp., filed a formal complaint against the telco in February, alleging that Verizon's practices violate a section of the Communications Act of 1934. That section prevents the use of information provided by one provider to another for a specific purpose, such as porting a number, to be used for a different purpose, such as marketing.
The operators allege that, since 2007, when they submit a request to Verizon to move a subscriber’s number to an operator's telephone operation, Verizon uses the information to create a lead list. The switching consumers are then contacted and offered discounts or premiums such as American Express gift cards to get them to stay with Verizon, according to the complaint.
But Verizon successfully argued that Section 222 of the federal act is unclear whether it is protecting the company which is to provide the new service, or the company receiving the information.