When the Federal CommunicationsCommission (FCC) mandated phonenumber portability 2 years ago, it wassupposed to be a boon for the consumer.Think again. Once the FCC set adeadline date for number portability,most wireless companies started addinga fee to cover the costs of providing theservice, even though it wouldn't beavailable for nearly 2 years. The companiesalso cloaked the portability feesunder names that implied that themoney was going to the governmentwhen instead it was going into the companies'coffers. The National Associationof State Utility Consumer Advocates(www.nasuca.org), a consumerwatchdog group, estimates that wirelessproviders have collected almost $1 billionin portability fees since January2002 for a service that wasn't offerednationwide until May of this year. Thegroup has called on the FCC to take amore active role in regulating these fees.