The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will conduct on February 8 a public hearing on the mandatory unlocking of mobile phones and devices after the expiration of a subscriber’s lock-in period.
The NTC has already released the guidelines in compliance with a directive of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to allow subscribers to switch to compatible wireless service providers.
“Under the draft MC (memorandum circular), public telecommunications entities will be required to disclose its policy on mobile phone and device unlocking and notify their customers if such devices are eligible for unlocking,” the NTC said in a statement on Friday, Feb.1.
The “lock-in period” is the length of time under contract within which a subscriber cannot switch to a different service provider from the one that supplied the phone, because the device has been “locked” or unable to accept a SIM card from a competing telco, it was explained.
DICT acting secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. earlier said that the mandatory unlocking of mobile phones will encourage telcos to be innovative on services they offer to consumers.
“Subscribers who have completed such lock-in periods and have no outstanding obligations on their subscription contracts can demand to mandatorily unlock their phones and devices on convenient sites, facilities and processes that will be provided by their respective wireless service providers,” Rio said through DICT Memorandum Order No. 004 which was issued last December.
The order mandates the NTC to draft the appropriate rules and regulations, as well as to conduct public consultations and hearings. — Aerol John Pateña (PNA)