The Philippines’ mobile operators Globe Telecom, PLDT’s Smart Communications and New Major Player (NMP) DITO Telecommunity have pledged to support the rollout of mobile number portability (MNP) this year, albeit grudgingly. The Manila Times cites Senator Sherwin Gatchalian – the lead author of the Mobile Number Portability Act (MNPA, a.k.a. the Lifetime Cellphone Number Act) – as saying that he has held discussions with the operators and technology service provider Syniverse on how to expedite the implementation of MNP services in the Philippines, allowing users to switch networks or change subscriptions without losing their current mobile number.
‘They should implement the Mobile Number Portability Act, even by phases as long as it will be done within the first six months this year,’ he said, suggesting that the cellcos phase in MNP by first offering it to post-paid users and then pre-paid in 2021. With the operators arguing that the integration, interoperability and other technical issues might delay the process until 2H21, Gatchalian has said that any further stalling in putting MNP in place is a ‘disservice to Filipino consumers who are fed up with the telcos’ poor and expensive services’.
Gatchalian reaffirmed that, as per the provisions of the Lifetime Cellphone Number Act, MNP should be available within six months from the promulgation of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR). The law – which also removes interconnection fees charged to subscribers for calling or texting across different networks – was signed in February 2019, while the IRR was issued on 11 June 2019 and took effect on 2 July 2019. ‘We will closely monitor and ensure that the MNPA will be implemented immediately. Within the year, that is their commitment and that is what we will focus on,’ Gatchalian added.