Full implementation of the mobile number portability has been hampered by the quarantines imposed amid the pandemic since last year, according to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
Edgardo Cabarios, NTC deputy commissioner, said however that the telcos are on track to fully implement the mobile number portability scheme.
Cabarios said the community quarantine imposed since March limited the movement of the clearing house tapped to finish the back-end of the scheme.
Under Republic Act 1102 or the Mobile Number Portability Act, mobile network providers should comply within six months from the implementation of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR), The law allowing this was signed on February 2019. NTC issued the IRR on June 2019 which took effect on July 2, 2019.
Mobile number portability allows subscribers to keep their mobile numbers even if they switch service providers or change their subscription from postpaid to prepaid and vice versa, free of charge.
Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications Inc. have begun implementing the mobile number portability within their respective networks only for subscribers shifting from prepaid to postpaid, Cabarios said.
Telcos have yet to allow subscribers to shift from one network to another without changing their numbers amid the community quarantine, Cabarios added.
Full implementation of the mobile number portability is expected to further boost competition in the telecom industry.
Cabarios said this would benefit the third telco player, making it easy for the company to obtain subscribers who won’t need to change mobile numbers when switching to another mobile provider.
In February last year, Globe, Smart and DITO Telecommunity formed Telecommunications Connectivity Inc. to undertake the mobile portability initiatives and was initially targeted to be operational by third quarter of 2020.
The company was formed to enable number porting services, serving as the “clearing house” for subscribers who want to shift to another network and keep their mobile numbers.
The telcos also chose Syniverse, the world’s most connected company, to be the mobile number portability service provider. The company will bring in the technical infrastructure to fulfill its primary function as clearing house for the telcos and ensure smooth implementation of the number porting services.
With mobile number portability in place, a postpaid or prepaid subscriber who has no existing financial obligation to the current service provider can retain an existing mobile number despite having moved from one mobile service provider to another, or change the type subscription from postpaid to prepaid or vice versa.