PLDT reiterates call for probe in mobile number portability 'roadblocks'

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 05 2021 12:22 PM | Updated as of Nov 05 2021 12:23 PM

Residents while away by the shore to catch a phone signal in Virac, Catanduanes on November 13, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File
Residents while away by the shore to catch a phone signal in Virac, Catanduanes on November 13, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - PLDT Inc and Smart Communications president and CEO Al Panlilio is urging telecommunications regulators to look into "roadblocks" in the implementation of mobile number portability in the country. 

The Mobile Number Portability (MNP) law took effect last Sept. 30 but PLDT has complained of delays from its rival Globe Telecom.

Globe, for its part, said the alleged delays were due to “complexity of multiple functions of its other brands.” It operates GOMO and TM brands aside from its postpaid and prepaid services.

Advocacy group Infrawatch has also asked the National Telecommunications Commission to "intervene" in the alleged MNP delays. 

PLDT's wireless network Smart Communications is a "net gainer" but the overall numbers are not that big just yet, Panlilio said in a virtual briefing held Thursday.

"Our regulators should take a look at that and review it. It’s not very easy to make the shift...It’s really the process of shifting, porting out and porting in and that’s been a roadblock in terms of switching networks," Panlilio said.

The country's 3 major mobile network providers, DITO Telecommunity, Globe and Smart, earlier established Telecommunications Connectivity Inc (TCI) to oversee the implementation of the law.

TCI earlier said some inconveniences could be expected during the initial phase of the implementation but it would eventually be ironed out.

In theory, changing providers while keeping mobile numbers should only take 48 hours with a 4-hour downtime before the switch takes effect.

Other key provisions of the MNP law: 

  • Switching providers (porting out and porting in) will be free for users
  • 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

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