Telcos move in unison with

The former Bell companies--AT&T, Verizon Communications and Qwest Communications--are launching an online tool aimed at actually making the process of switching your phone service to another company easier after moving to a new city, provided your next service provider in your new home is another telco. The companies have partnered on, a Web site that lets telco customers switch services and service providers. The site also offers help in changing Internet and TV providers--again with the options limited to Internet services or TV services provided by other incumbent telcos, or by the satellite TV partners of those companies. In addition to phone service, other moving assistance and hints also can be found at

The site is managed for the telcos by an online firm called WhiteFence. It reflects an increasing willingness by big telcos to team up against common enemies, primarily cable TV companies, but also VoIP providers who can jump into the mix when a consumer moves from one market to another. Verizon, and by extension other telcos, suffered a competitive setback recently when the Federal Communications Commission said Verizon could not use information about customers who were in the process of switching to cable to win those customers back. Verizon is fighting that decision in court, but with a setback on one competitive front, telcos are getting more aggressive on another. Still, it will be interesting to see what happens once those telcos themselves start competing more directly with one another in some markets.

For more:
- check out this Dow Jones Newswire story at CNN Money