MANILA, Philippines – You can now keep your mobile number even if you decide to change your mobile service provider, thanks to a new law.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No 11202 or the Mobile Number Portability Act on February 14. A copy of the law was made public on Tuesday, February 19.
Mobile number portability (MNP) refers to the ability of a mobile or prepaid subscriber of mobile phone services to retain their existing mobile number even if they move from one service provider to another. They should also get to keep that number even if they change their subscription from postpaid to prepaid, or vice versa.
However, this can only happen if the subscriber has no existing financial obligations to the current service provider.
To avail of MNP when changing mobile service providers, a mobile phone user needs to submit a "porting application." A porting process will then kick in which the original provider moves the mobile number to the new provider, which the law refers to as the "recipient provider."
The recipient provider is supposed to activate the user's mobile number for porting within 24 hours, after being notified by the original provider that the number is cleared for porting.
No interconnection fee or charge
Under the law, mobile service providers can no longer charge "interconnection fees" for domestic calls and texts made by a mobile phone user.
Service providers that violate the law or refuse to implement mobile number portability will face various fines to be imposed by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
The smallest fine is P10,000 – when mobile number portability is not performed on time but delivered by the service provider on or before a complaint was filed.
But the penalty can go all the way up to P1 million and the revocation of the telecommunication company's franchise if they refuse to implement MNP for the 5th time after mediation.
Consumer welfare, competition
The point of the law is to give consumers more options and encourage competition in order to improve services of mobile service providers.
Phone users will no longer hesitate to change their service provider just because they worry about the hassle of changing their phone number.
Thus, telecommunication companies will have more reason to improve their services – be it through faster data or ensuring calls don't drop. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.