Globe, Smart, Dito form JV to implement mobile number portability

Local mobile operators Globe Telecom and Smart Communications have joined forces with new player Dito Telecommunity to put up a new company using fresh investments to enable number porting services in line with the new mobile number portability initiative of the government.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Dec. 26, the telcos said the move “is an important first step towards the full implementation of Republic Act 11202 also known as the ‘Mobile Number Portability Act”’.

Through the MNP Act, mobile phone users can keep their numbers even when they transfer to another service provider, or when they switch their subscription from postpaid to prepaid, or vice-versa.

Mobile Number Portability refers to the ability of a mobile postpaid or prepaid subscriber, who has no existing financial obligation to the current service provider, to retain an existing mobile number despite having moved from one mobile service provider to another, or to change the type subscription from postpaid to prepaid or vice versa.

Florida-based Syniverse was chosen as the mobile number portability service provider (MNPSP) after a rigorous technical and commercial evaluation process, the telcos revealed.

The company is expected bring in the technical infrastructure to fulfill its primary function as clearinghouse for the telcos and ensuring smooth implementation of number porting services.

“For more than 30 years, Syniverse has been the trusted spine of mobile communications by delivering the industry-leading innovations in software and services that now connect more than 7 billion devices globally and process more than $35 billion in mobile transactions each year. With recognition by the Philippine mobile operators, we are confident that the Mobile Number Portability project will be another key milestone marked in mobile services in the Philippines,” Paul Hodges, senior vice president of sales at Syniverse, said it a statement.

Under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the MNP Act, the mobile operators will equally share the capital expenditure for the software, hardware, and other facilities required by the MNPSP.  However, the sharing of operating and maintenance costs shall be agreed upon by the mobile operators and the MNPSP.

As MNPSP, Syniverse is likewise expected to fulfill all functions outlined in the implementing rules and regulations under the NTC Memorandum Circular 03-06-2019 issued in July this year.  With the initial step of setting up the support mechanisms, the actual implementation of MNP will be contingent upon the completion of integration and interoperability tests of the clearinghouse facilities with the separate multi-vendor systems of the mobile operators.

Based on experience in other countries where customers are charged for porting fees, the average period for completing the implementation of MNP is 27 months from the regulator’s issuance of the IRR.  For the Philippine market, Syniverse estimates the period of integration and interoperability to be no later than 18 months from setting up of the support mechanism. In addition, porting services shall be free of charge to the customers.

“We’ve taken the key steps forward but there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of technical preparations.  We at PLDT and Smart have geared up for this. We are taking steps to put in place a seamless and efficient process for our existing and would-be customers who would like to avail of this service in the future,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, chief revenue officer of PLDT and Smart.

“Given the technical and operational complexity of mobile number portability, we wanted to make sure the MNPSP has the experience and capacity to fulfill its obligations under the law.  Our utmost priority is to ensure that the experience of our customers is seamless and of utmost convenience should they decide to port their numbers. We are one with the government in having our customers enjoy global mobile practices,” Globe chief technology and information officer and chief strategy officer Gil B. Genio said.

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