aql, a UK telco specialising in wholesale access to fixed and mobile networks have heralded the end to a telecoms monopoly in Hull which has been dominated by the incumbent operator, Kcom. Hull is different from the rest of the UK in that its phone network is the only area without a BT presence, although Kcom did (somewhat ironically) sign a network management outsourcing agreement with BT Wholesale to try and cut down costs. aql have signed a porting agreement which will allow them to migrate phone numbers in the Kcom network away from a physical phone line which would allow them to be used on VoIP, mobile or other fixed-line services. They say this is the first time such an agreement has been arranged in the Hull area and it could breed new competitive services in the area.
"We see the Kingston porting agreement as likely to act as a catalyst to competition in the Hull area and I'm sure we'll see new specialist operators cropping up. An example of such an operator is theonenetwork.co.uk, who can merge your office and home numbers onto one mobile device from GBP5 per month."Paul Greaves, (Sales Director) aql
Whilst this may aid some providers in being able to offer services, it's unlikely to make a large dent within Kcom's customer base, particularly in terms of LLU deployment. Ofcom have previously stated that the lack of WLR and LLU providers in the Hull area is likely due to the high fixed costs that would be incurred in deploying to the relatively small market (in the region of 150k lines), and most of the existing operators have not seemed to hold too much interest in deploying there.