By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter
THE National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) released on Monday the guidelines for the implementation of the Mobile Number Portability Act, which allows mobile users to switch networks and service types without changing their numbers.
Memorandum Circular No. 03-06-2019 set the implementing rules and regulations for Republic Act No. 11202, which was signed into law in February. It will take effect 15 days from its publication in a newspaper.
Based on the rules, any subscriber who does not have an outstanding balance with a network provider, has used a mobile number for at least 60 days and is not blacklisted by any network provider may apply to switch networks and retain his or her mobile number.
The service may be availed from a mobile number portability service provider (MNPSP), which will be chosen by telecommunications companies (telcos) within four months from the rules’ effectivity.
Telcos Globe Telecom, Inc. and PLDT, Inc. are required to take an equal share in the capital expenditure for software, hardware and other facilities that the chosen MNPSP will need to acquire.
The MNPSP’s operating and maintenance costs will also be shared with the telcos, depending on their to-be-determined agreement.
The application to switch from network to network and from postpaid to prepaid service is free of charge, as the rules said “no fees and charges related to the mobile number portability service shall be collected from the subscribers.”
Subscribers who wish to avail themselves of the portability service must request from his or her network provider a nine-digit unique subscriber code. This code will be processed by the network provider the subscriber is switching into. The porting process must not take longer than 48 hours.
In the case of subscribers wishing to move from prepaid to postpaid service or vice-versa, a network provider must complete the porting process in 24 hours.
The Mobile Number Portability Act is intended to 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.”