MANILA - Telecommunications firms in the country on Thursday said they have opened specific channels where consumers can apply to switch networks while keeping their mobile numbers.
This is in compliance with Republic Act 11202 or the Mobile Number Portability Act, which took effect Thursday.
Globe Telecom has a specific mobile number portability page to serve inquiries of those interested to avail of the service.
"When implemented, MNP can help promote consumer welfare by fostering 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," Globe Telecom said.
Users can opt to switch internally or from prepaid to postpaid and vice versa within the same network, as well as externally or from telco to telco.
Requests can be done using the GlobeOne app while inquiries will also be entertained using Globe's Twitter account, it said.
"This is the best time to be with Globe. There are so many reasons for our customers to stay and excited for those who will join us in the Globe family," Globe Chief Commercial Officer Issa Guevarra-Cabreira said.
In a separate statement, PLDT's wireless arm Smart Communications said it has also activated its MNP capabilities on Thursday.
"MNP is a game-changer, and Smart is best-positioned to champion this initiative and support the government's call for world-class services for all Filipinos," said Alfredo Panlilio, PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications President and CEO.
Smart said subscribers who want to switch to the network must first secure a unique subscriber code from the originating provider.
Users can then proceed to the nearest Smart store with their valid IDs and proof of mobile ownership to continue the process, the telco said.
A page dedicated to MNP was also activated by Smart.
Service providers may face fines of P10,000 to P1 million if they fail to meet the required time or reject the subscriber unjustly, based on the law's implementing rules.
Telecommunication companies should also ensure that cybersecurity is in place with the rollout of the measure, its author Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said.
“Sa panahon ngayon na talamak ang iba’t ibang modus gamit ang mga online at mobile application platforms, importante na sinisiguro natin sa mga subscriber na mahigpit ang pagtalima ng telcos sa Data Privacy Act na kaakibat ng batas na ito,” said Gatchalian.
(There are a lot of scams in online and mobile application platforms, that's why it's crucial to ensure that telcos adhere to the Data Privacy Act embedded in this law.)
DITO Telecommunity, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications earlier formed the Telecommunications Connectivity Inc to oversee the implementation of the law.
KEY PROVISIONS UNDER THE MNP LAW:
• Switching providers (porting out and porting in) will be free for users
• It will only take 48 hours to transfer telcos with about 4 hours downtime before the transfer takes effect
• Service is available for both prepaid and postpaid subscribers provided that the lock-in period for postpaid users has expired and that all liabilities are settled
• There is no limit to switching back and forth to and from any telco providers
• After completing a telco switch, there will be a 60-day period before a subscriber can request another transfer
• By default, consumers won't be able to tell what telco provider the other party is using
• The switching process will start with a text message before a SIM card will be made available for pickup (subject to improvements)
• Users need an active SIM and the requestor is the assignee of the mobile number to be ported
• Users should have no existing court prohibitions
• Users should have no pending transfer of ownership
Mobile number portability, implemented in the Philippines for the first time, has been in practice in other countries.
- with a report from Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News
ANC, ANC Top, mobile number portability, MNP, number porting, SIM card, SIM number, Smart, Globe, DITO, TCI