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NTC asked to order telcos to adopt mobile number portability

Updated

SIM cards / CREDIT: sicap / Manila Bulletin

SIM cards / CREDIT: sicap / Manila Bulletin

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III on Sunday urged the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to direct the country’s telecommunication companies (telcos) to adopt a Mobile Number Portabilty (MNP) feature to encourage competition.

Pimentel made this remark as the Senate continues to conduct hearings on Senate Bill No. 1302, which seeks to extend the legislative franchise of Smart Communications, the wireless subsidiary of PLDT, Inc.

MNP is a feature that allows mobile phone subscribers to use the same mobile phone numbers even if they switch to a different carrier. Under the current system, the first four numbers of a mobile phone number are assigned to specific carriers, forcing mobile phone subscribers to change numbers when switching to a different telco.

The Senate President said that giving consumers the right to retain their mobile phone numbers forces telcos to improve their services.

“If we are unhappy with our current provider, we should be able to bring our business elsewhere; if we see a competitor providing better deals, then we should be able to switch with as little inconvenience as possible,” Pimentel said.

“It should be clear: the NTC should be on our side, not on the side of the telcos. The NTC should encourage real competition and give us the power to choose and help us force telcos to improve data speeds, to provide clearer voice calls, to eliminate dropped calls, and to ensure that our text messages arrive on time,” he added.

He explained that Mobile Number Portability has been available in the US since 2003. It’s now allowed in other countries such as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and Hong Kong.

Even ASEAN neighbors Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam allow users to retain their numbers even if they shift carriers.

He said that regulators in other countries require telcos to allow MNP “because they recognize that by removing the barriers to switching telcos, they are empowering consumers by giving them the power to choose.”

“There is no reason Filipino consumers should be denied this feature. The technology allows for this,” Pimentel said.

The Senate President stressed that the NTC knows that the numbers assigned to particular telcos do not belong to these telcos and are owned by the government.

“…We are in a position to require telcos to allow their customers to retain these numbers even if their customers want to switch to their competitors,” he added.

Pimentel said that the MNP can be implemented to both postpaid and prepaid accounts as well.

He, however, said that although it entails costs on the part of telcos, the billions of pesos they make each year is “the least they can do for long-suffering subscribers who have a litany of complaints, but have limited options.”

Smart reported that it earned almost P8 billion in revenues in the first half of 2016 alone while its main competitor, Globe, reported a profit of almost P9 billion during the same period. (PNA)

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  • Vernz Jagunap

    mahirap to sa consumer side. kasi hindi na natin malalaman kung alin ang carrier ng number kung i base sa number…. mas ok ngayon saka, hindi naman problema ang pag switch

    • Me

      I beg to disagree. Para nga ito sa consumer so that you can always retain your number kahit anong carrier mo man gustong lumipat.

      Actual situation. 10+ years na ako sa Globe with the same cellphone no. All my calling cards and postings for the past 10 years have my number. If I transfer to Smart kasi mas maganda yung plan nila or whatever, I will have the same number ported to my new carrier instead of handing out a new number and erasing the postings I have established for years. Magiging personal na talaga yung no. ko kumbaga exclusive na sa akin yun kahit Globe Smart or Sun man ang carrier ko. Hindi na ako magpapalit ng number.
      Irrelevant na yung dapat pa natin malaman kung anong carrier yung number. I don’t get it. Pag humingi ba ng tel no. itatanong mo pa ba kung anong network tong no. na to? What for? The same lang naman yan, cellphone number pa rin yan kahit anong network yan.
      Actually mas problema ang pag switch ng network, hindi sya madali, kasi kung magpapalit ka ng number. You will have to inform all your contacts and edit your postings and ads about your new number. Business might be lost kasi hindi pala na inform ang clients/customers about your new no. Baka pag check nila sa calling card mo old no. pa ang nandun e di hindi ka na contact, nawalan ka ng business opportunity.