President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Republic Act 11202 or the Mobile Number Portability Act, allowing mobile users to keep their numbers for life even if they change mobile service providers or subscription plans. The President signed the law on February 8, 2019 but this was only announced to the media today, February 19.
“The basic premise behind a nationwide Mobile Number Portability system is to promote consumer welfare as it fosters the freedom to choose and to respond to quality, price, and other relevant considerations without the consumers having to change their mobile numbers whenever they change mobile service providers or subscription plans,” the law reads.
Under the law, mobile service providers or public telecommunications entities (PTE) are required to provide mobile number portability (MNP) to all qualified subscribers completely free of charge. It authorizes the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to impose fines for violations, ranging from P10,000 to P1 million. The NTC could also revoke the erring PTE’s franchise for repeated violations and award a subscriber damages not exceeding P40,000.
The original service provider, also called the “donor provider,” has up to 24 hours to transmit the notice of clearance to the recipient provider, as long as the subscriber does not have an existing financial obligation with the donor provider. The porting process, or the transfer of the mobile number from the donor provider to the recipient provider, should take no more than 48 hours.
The PTE is also required to change the subscription type from postpaid to prepaid, or vice versa, within 24 hours from the time a subscriber submits the porting application. Subscribers are allowed to port the same number only after 60 days from the completion of the last porting process. The PTE is fined P10,000 should it fail to perform the porting process within the required period.
The PTE is also obligated to continue providing mobile telecommunications services to the subscriber while the mobile number is being ported, subject to a “cutover period” not exceeding 4 hours. The cutover period is the time when a subscriber will have no mobile telecommunications services while the porting process is being completed.
The NTC has up to 90 days after the law takes effect to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations, in coordination with the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), the National Privacy Commission, the Philippine Competition Commission, and other concerned agencies. The Mobile Number Portability Act will take effect 15 days after publication in the Official Gazette or in any newspaper of general circulation.
PLDT and Globe Ready for MNP
Both PLDT and Globe Telecom have indicated their readiness to abide with the new law on mobile number portability.
“That is not an issue for us because number portability is already in the new franchise of Smart. We will support a law that mandates it. The industry must now work with the government to properly implement it,” said PLDT Public Affairs head Ramon Isberto.
“We support the adoption of number portability and will work with concerned government agencies to implement this properly,” Isbeto added.
On the other hand, Globe Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications Yoly Crisanto said that the Globe supports the initiative and will work with the NTC to formulate the implementing guidelines.
“Globe competes based on its brand and customer experience. The mobile number portability is not new as other countries have been implementing this for quite some time. This effectively empowers consumers more in choosing which provider suits them better,” Crisanto said.
The Mobile Number Portability Act will hopefully end the common practice of buying new SIM cards and changing numbers just to transfer from one mobile network to another. The new law will also allow postpaid subscribers to switch to prepaid plans (or vice versa) without the fear of losing their numbers. Everyone knows how inconvenient and annoying it is to change mobile numbers, so this law is just what we need to address this long-standing problem.