President Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed a law that will allow mobile users to keep their numbers even after they change service providers or subscription plans.
Duterte signed the Mobile Number Portability Act (Republic Act. 11202) on Feb. 8 but was released to media on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
Under the law, all qualified subscribers should be provided with Mobile Number Portability (MNP) completely free of charge and information on MNPs including its features.
“The basic premise behind a nationwide Mobile Number Portability system is to promote consumer welfare as it fosters 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,” the law read.
It is also meant to encourage mobile service providers to compete with each other to provide consumers with the best overall value that they can offer.
This way, it would encourage technological innovation that will stimulate even greater demand for telecommunications products and services and lead to a virtuous cycle of economic growth.
“Mobile Number Portability represents an opportunity to rebalance the relationship between mobile service providers and consumers in a vibrant economy and a well-served consumer sector,” it added.
The law also authorizes the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to impose fines against local telcos for violations of the act.
A fine of P10,000 will be imposed when portability is not performed within the allowed period and P40,000 where MNP is unjustly refused even after mediation.
Meanwhile, P100,000 to P300,000 will be fined for the second to the fourth instance where MNP is unjustly refused even after mediation.
For the fifth and subsequent instances if MNP is unjustly refused, telcos will be fined with P4,000 up to P1 million and may risk losing their franchise to operate.
Within 90 days from the effectivity of the law, the NTC, as the government entity mandated to implement nationwide MNP, must coordinate with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the National Privacy Commission (NPC), the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) and other concerned agencies and promulgate rules and regulations and other issuances as may be necessary to ensure its effective implementation.
Mobile service providers must also comply with the provisions of the law, and set up a mechanism for the purpose of implementing nationwide MNP within six months from the promulgation of rules and regulations.
The measure, which will take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in any newspaper of general circulation, is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1636 and House Bill No. 7652 was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on Nov. 21, 2018 and Nov. 20, 2018, respectively. — Azer Parrocha (PNA)