Gatchalian warns telcos: Hasten mobile number portability implementation or face sanctions

Published January 29, 2021, 12:05 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday warned telecommunication companies (telcos) they could be facing tough penalties should they delay the already forestalled implementation of the Mobile Number Portability Act (MNPA).

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian

The law, Republic Act No. 11202, the “Act Requiring Mobile Service Providers to Provide Nationwide Mobile Number Portability to Subscribers,” primarily allows subscribers the option to keep their mobile numbers permanently even after transferring from one network to another.

Gatchalian pointed out that under the MNPA law, telcos which will repeatedly and unjustly refuse to implement the portability within the period allowed could face a P1-million fine and/or possible revocation of franchise.

He said the implementation of the law has long been overdue since it was signed in February, 2019, and the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) were issued in June, 2019.

He said the law should have been carried out as early as January, 2020, but a representative during a recent Senate Committee on Public Services hearing claimed telcos were forced to revise the timeline of the implementation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gatchalian said that in December, 2019, Globe Telecom, Smart Communications, and Dito Telecommunity claimed they needed an independent third party contractor to manage mobile porting services to ensure better interoperability.

The communication networks claimed that it might take until July this year to set up the whole mechanism.

“The current situation should enable our consumers to easily shift without much of a fuss to another network that offers better services especially since our daily grind is practically dependent nowadays on telcos’ services,” Gatchalian said.

“Hindi pa tayo tinatamaan ng pandemya nung naisabatas ito. Ngayon, inabutan na tayo ng COVID-19 at may ibang variant na (This was passed into law before we were hit by the pandemic. Now we are already dealing with COVID-19 and its new variants),” he added.

“The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) should see to it that telcos strictly follow the law,” Gatchalian said.