MANILA -- A law that allows mobile subscribers to keep their numbers when switching between service providers will make it easier for the Philippines' third telco to attract new customers, its author said Thursday.
The Mobile Number Portability Act, signed recently by President Rodrigo Duterte, is meant to spur competition as dominant players PLDT Inc and Globe Telecom brace for the entry of China Telecom-backed Mislatel, said Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.
"It is the perfect timing for the up and coming third telco," Gatchalian told ANC's Early Edition.
"I'm very sure the third telco will try to poach some customers from the existing duopoly. In order to do that, we have to create that conducive environment for customers to move around," he said.
The Mislatel consortium, which includes businessman Dennis Uy's Udenna Corp and Chelsea Logistics, recently secured approval from lawmakers for a change in its ownership, paving the way for its service rollout.
Allowing consumers to keep their numbers will force telcos to improve their services and offer more perks to ensure subscriber loyalty, he said.
Consumers get to keep their entire numbers, including the prefix, when before, "0917" was exclusive to Globe while "0918" was for PLDT unit Smart, he said.
"With this new law, that number is attached to your name and you can now move around different telcos. If the third telco will drop down rates and you want to move to that new telco, you don't have to change your number anymore. You can bring your number to the new telco," he said.
Globe Telecom reported 74.1 million mobile subscribers at the end of 2018 while rival PLDT Inc had 58 million at the end of September 2018. The total exceeds the 100 million population of the Philippines, which includes infants and newborns.
Gatchalian said he would push "very hard" for a bill that seeks mandatory registration for prepaid SIM cards, which he said was being done in some 120 countries.
ANC, ANC Top, ANC Exclusives, Early Edition, telecommunications, third telco, consumer, Mislatel, Globe, Smart