The House Committee on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) recently approved a measure that seeks to institutionalize mobile phone- number portability for subscribers.
House ICT Committee Chairman Rep. Victor A. Yap of the Second District of Tarlac said the mobile-number portability bill (MNP) allows phone subscribers to shift from one network to another, as well as switch from postpaid to prepaid subscription or vice versa, without having to change their mobile numbers.
“A mobile number represents the identity of a mobile-phone user in the digital world. It contains vital information, as well as their ties with other users. Through long and consistent use, a mobile-phone user acquires property rights over their phone number. By forcing them to surrender this number upon changing networks, they are, in effect, being deprived of a vital commodity in the digital world,” Yap stated.
Under the bill, telecommunication companies and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will be tasked to establish a mechanism to implement the MNP.
Public telecommunication entities (PTE), which currently provide services to a subscriber, or a donor provider, must notify the opposite network, or recipient provider, within 24 hours of their client’s desire to shift to the recipient provider’s network.
Should a client have any existing financial obligation, they will be given three working days to settle unpaid dues. If a client does not pay these fees after the three-day period, the donor provider will notify the recipient provider of the nonpayment.
The bill also states that while a subscriber’s move to a different network is being processed, the donor provider must continue providing them with all mobile telecommunications services.
“This bill is revolutionary [since] it…would break the dominance of current telcos in the industry. It can benefit new and small players, spur competition and improve PTEs’ service, which would entice more subscribers,” Yap said.
The bill also states that PTEs that violate the law will be fined by the NTC of an amount starting from P100,000 to P300,000 for the first offense, and P400,000 to P600,000 for the second offense. Subsequent offenses, meanwhile, will be fined at an amount that will range from P700,000 to P1 million, as well as cancellation of a PTE’s franchise to operate.
The proposed Mobile Number Portability Act consolidates House Bills No. 2873, 5195, 5765, and 7148 which were filed by Rep. Victor A. Yap (2nd District, Tarlac), Rep. Lord Allan Q. Velasco (Lone Distric, Marinduque), Rep. Wes Gatchalian (1st District, Valenzuela), and Rep. Alfred Vargas (5th District, Quezon City), respectively.
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