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Duterte enacts law allowing subscribers to keep mobile numbers for life

Mobile network subscribers may soon be able to retain their numbers for life despite switching subscription plans or between telecom service providers.

President Rodrigo Duterte on February 8 signed Republic Act 11202 or the Mobile Number Portability Act, a copy of which was released by Malacañang on Tuesday.

All public telecommunications entities (PTEs) are mandated to provide prepaid and postpaid subscribers the option to keep their mobile phone numbers free of charge.

The option, however, is allowed only if the subscriber has no financial obligation that must be settled with the original service provider—also called the donor provider.

“Mobile number portability is envisioned to encourage mobile service providers, whether a public telecommunications entity or a virtual network operator, to compete with each other to provide consumers with the best overall value that they can offer, thus encouraging technological innovation that will stimulate even greater demand for telecommunications products and services and lead to a virtuous cycle of economic growth,” according to RA 11202.

The telecom company to which the subscriber is transferring must inform the donor provider about the transfer and share the mobile number portability application so the mobile number can be cleared and enter it into the system of the new or recipient network.

The is non-issue for PLDT Inc., said Public Affairs head Ramon Isberto.

“That is not an issue for us because number portability is already in the new franchise of Smart. We will support a law that mandates it. The industry must now work with the government to properly implement it,” he said.

Likewise, Globe Telecom legal counsel Froilan Castelo said the Ayala-led telco will work with the NTC in formulating the implementing rules to make number portability policy fair to both the consumers and Globe.

“Globe competes based on its brand and customer experience. The Mobile Number Portability is not new as other countries have been implementing this for quite some time. This effectively empowers consumers more in choosing which provider suits them better,” Globe senior vice president for Corporate Communications Yoly Crisanto also said.

The recipient provider is required to activate the subscriber’s ported number under its network within 24 hours after it has been notified that mobile number has been cleared for porting. The porting process should not take more than 48 hours.

The original network is required to continue providing all services to the subscriber of the number being ported until the “cutover” period is in place. The subscriber must be made aware of this as soon as porting application submission. 

According to the law, the cutover period covers the date and time when a transferring subscriber will have no mobile telecommunications service while the porting process is being completed. 

A telco must not also impose conditions and proceed with contract termination to complete a porting application.

Companies that violate the provisions of RA 11202 may face fines ranging from P10,000 up to P1 million as well as cancellation of the operating franchise. A subscriber can also receive damages but not exceeding P40,000.

The National Telecommunications Commission has 90 days after the law takes effect to promulgate its implementing rules and regulations.

The law takes effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in any newspaper of general circulation. —With Ted Cordero/VDS, GMA News