Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said oversight over the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 11202 or the Mobile Number Portability Act (MNPA) can be conducted to ensure the IRR conforms with the spirit of the law.
In particular, Gatchalian, principal author and sponsor of the MNPA, explained that the National Telecommunications (NTC) Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 03-06-2019 on the Rules and Regulations Implementing the MNPA provides for too many grounds for an application for mobile number porting to be rejected.
“During the public hearing of the April 12 draft of the IRR on April 30, only four grounds for rejection were listed, but the final version released by NTC as MC No. 03-6-2019 on June 18 listed three additional grounds,” Gatchalian noted.
Section 12 of the NTC MC No. 03-6-2019 NTC lists seven grounds for rejection, including cases where the mobile number to be ported is part of a bundled service or product (12.1.5), or if the mobile number to be ported is the principal contact number in an account with multiple numbers (12.1.6).
“Section 12.1.5 is anti-competitive because it deprives consumers from switching to a more efficient product or service that may be offered by a rival network provider,” the lawmaker said.
“Under this ground, every number with a bundled service or product will not be eligible for porting even if the services are poor and the consumer does not get value for money. It is antithetical to the objectives of this legislation,” he added.
Moreover, Gatchalian said Section 12.1.6 is disadvantageous to subscribers whose mobile numbers are the primary numbers of corporate accounts.
“These two grounds added by the NTC go against the basic premise of the MNPA, which is really to give our subscribers the freedom to choose and to respond to quality price and other considerations,” he said. “We want to empower consumers and give them the freedom to choose providers that they think gives the best service and best value for their money.”