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Smart, Globe, DITO on track with mobile number portability

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Telco subscribers’ switch from one network to another while retaining their mobile numbers is all set for implementation in September this year after three of the country’s major mobile network operators conducted successful initial interoperability tests for mobile number portability.

PLDT Inc’s mobile unit Smart Communications, Ayala-led Globe Telecom Inc., and third telco player DITO Telecommunity Corp. -- through their joint venture firm Telecommunications Connectivity Inc. (TCI) -- concluded the initial tests for their technical capabilities to run the clearing for mobile number portability on July 14.

Telecommunications Connectivity Inc. was incorporated in January last year by Globe, Smart Communications, and DITO to implement Republic Act No. 11202 or Mobile Number Portability Act.

The three telcos tapped Florida-based Syniverse Technology as the mobile number portability service provider.

The Mobile Number Portability Act allows mobile phone users to keep their mobile numbers even when they transfer to another service provider, or when they switch their subscription from postpaid to prepaid, or vice-versa.

According to the telcos, the outcome of these initial technical tests are “within expectations.”

“After the initial tests yielded positive results, the next steps will be to streamline the external porting process, implement fraud and security safeguards, optimize systems and backend business operations in time for a smoother and faster porting experience for customers by September 30, 2021,” the telcos said in a statement on Friday.

By conducting a successful actual porting test, DITO, Globe and Smart said they secured initial insights and details on how to address remaining concerns and possible challenges, before making the service available to all customers.

They noted that they have worked diligently to meet the July commitment with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to achieve initial technical readiness, before the actual interporting demonstration with the telco regulator, a key milestone in the MNP process.

“As the newest player in the industry, we truly are excited to provide this service to Filipinos wherever they may be. When we entered the industry, it really was to encourage competition and innovation. With the Mobile Number Portability Act, we have broken down barriers and have given the Filipinos the power of convenience to finally switch to their preferred service provider,” said Adel Tamano, DITO chief administrative officer.

“The initial tests gave us a clearer view of the customer experience when they avail of the MNP, including the experience of customers as they interport to Globe numbers from other networks and vice versa. We learned a lot in the process and we will apply them to make the transition easy and seamless for our customers once the MNP becomes available to all,” said Issa Guevarra-Cabreira, Globe chief commercial officer.

In 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte in February signed into law the Mobile Number Portability Act, which allows mobile network subscribers to retain their numbers for life despite switching subscription plans or between telecom service providers.

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.

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.

"We are working doubly hard with our counterparts from Globe and DITO to comply with the requirements. This is aligned with our company’s direction: customer-centricity as our True North. We have always been at the forefront of using technology to create better experiences for everyone, and the successful initial tests will help us understand and recalibrate our systems and processes, so we can make the MNP experience simple and easy for our customers. After all, making things simple, using technology, is at the core of the Smart brand promise,” said Jane Basas, Smart senior vice president and head of Consumer Wireless Business. —LBG, GMA News

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