The Federal Communications Commission yesterday greatly expanded the number of customers who could switch their home phone service to a cellular carrier and keep the same phone number.
The change, which takes effect Nov. 24 in the country's top 100 metropolitan areas, allows a home user to switch as long as the coverage areas overlap.
It could take a day or more for a newly activated cell phone to work with the home phone number. Some customers also would be able to switch a cell phone to a home phone.
The wireless industry has already been preparing for the Nov. 24 deadline for allowing cellular phone customers to switch to another wireless carrier and keep the same phone number.
The switch could be delayed as the local phone companies fight a change that could siphon millions of customers away. But the wireless industry and FCC officials said the move would benefit consumers.