Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian has issued a warning to telecommunications companies against attempts to further delay the already forestalled implementation of the Mobile Number Portability Act (MNPA), saying that they will be meted out with appropriate penalties.
The MNPA, otherwise known as Republic Act No. 11202 or the Act Requiring Mobile Service Providers To Provide Nationwide Mobile Number Portability To Subscribers, imposes as much as P1-million fine to telcos and revocation of their franchises to operate if they would repeatedly and unjustly refuse to implement the portability within the period allowed under the said law, Gatchalian said.
The MNPA allows subscribers to transfer from one service provider to another without changing their mobile numbers free of charge.
Gatchalian said that the law should have been carried out as early as January 2020 since the law was signed in February 2019 and the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) issued in June 2019.
But in a letter to the senator by the telcos in December 2019, Globe Telecom, Smart Communications and Dito Telecommunity explained that they need an independent third-party contractor to manage mobile porting services to ensure better interoperability and might take until July this year to set up the whole mechanism.
A telco representative, during the Senate Public Services committee hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 27, said that telcos will start the interoperability test in June this year and will carry out the full commercial launch by September. They cited the pandemic as the reason behind the revised timeline.
“The current situation should enable our consumers to easily shift without much of a fuss to another network that offer better services especially since our daily grind is practically dependent nowadays on telcos’ services,” said Gatchalian, principal author of the landmark legislation,.
“Hindi pa tayo tinatamaan ng pandemya nung naisabatas ito. Ngayon, inabutan na tayo ng Covid-19 at may ibang variant na. The National Telecommunications Commission should see to it that telcos strictly follow the law,” he ended.