Changing mobile numbers when you switch to another mobile service provider will soon be a thing of the past.
The National Telecommunications Commission on Wednesday said that the commercial launch of the Mobile Number Portability Act, also known as Republic Act 11202, is set to begin on September 30.
NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said that it was supposed to be launched within the first three months of 2021 but the rollout was delayed due to the coronavirus disease pandemic.
Under the law, an individual has to submit a porting application if he or she wants to change providers. He or she can still keep the mobile number after the switch for free.
The measure also applies to those who want to switch from prepaid to postpaid plan and vice-versa.
The law also prevents telecommunication firms from locking-in mobile devices to their own network.
Globe Telecom, Smart Communications and Dito Telecommunity has formed a consortium called Telecommunications Connectivity and tapped global firm Syniverse to implement the porting platform.
An interoperability test will be conducted in June.
Some Filipinos then aired their apprehensions over the potential effects if the initiative on mobile number was to be enacted.
“So you may be calling a ‘Globe’ number thinking the call was unlimited. And getting charged for unwittingly calling a ‘Smart’ number. This is going to be a mess,” a Twitter user commented.
“This will be hard to identify what network the user is? E.g. doing Pasa Load or asking 1st what network he or she is before calling for post or prepaid subscribers to avoid an X amount of charge?” another online user shared.
Calling or texting someone from a different mobile service provider than yours entails a higher load deduction.
Networks also have their own mobile number prefixes. For example, a person is bound to be a Globe or TM subscriber if his number begins with “0917.”
Someone with a mobile number prefix of “0919,” meanwhile, is a Smart subscriber.
On the other hand, a different Twitter user lauded the move and said that it evokes “first world vibes.”
Some countries that allow number portability or the act of retaining your old number despite switching networks are the United States and Canada, although the latter only works within the same service area.
The Mobile Number Portability Act was signed into law in February 2019.
Reports note that it allows consumers to have more options and encourage competition among networks to improve their respective services.