Mobile number portability (MNP) core services start on schedule today, September 30, Telecommunications Connectivity Inc. (TCI), the joint venture firm of Smart Communications Inc., Globe Telecom Inc. and DITO Telecommunity, this morning announced.
“We do expect to experience some inconveniences as we start offering the service,” TCI General Manager Melanie Manuel conceded.
“But we are confident that with the continued cooperation and hard work of our three partner telcos, we can say that finally, forever is here,” she added.
Mobile customers can now move from one telco service provider to another free of charge, change from postpaid to prepaid, or vice-versa, and keep their mobile phone numbers.
Local telcos are bracing for at least one million subscribers switching to other network providers under MNP.
In other countries implementing MNP todate, 30 percent of subscribers transfer to other networks, on the average.
However, the name of the game is quality service, not promos, although the network provider offering the most attractive promos may initially compel subscribers to transfer, according to the telcos.
Over the long run, subscribers will opt to stay with the telco who provides the best service.
MNP allows customers to keep their mobile phone numbers permanently, even when they change network providers or switch subscriptions from postpaid to prepaid, or vice-versa.
Hence, portability encourages subscribers to transfer providers more easily. Subscribers “port in” or transfer to another provider free of charge under the MNP Act.
The provider to whom they transfer will shoulder the cost of their porting.
Furthermore, they can “port in” and “port out” of network providers for an unlimited number of times, local telcos today confirmed.
However, if a subsciber “ports in” a new provider, he has to wait for 60 days before he can “port out” – transfer to a third provider or come back to his former provider.
Also, a subscriber who is “porting out” will have a four-hour lag time before he can use his mobile phone number again.
Telcos can carry out the switch within 48 hours.
“MNP is a game-changer, and Smart is best-positioned to champion this initiative and support the government’s call for world-class services for all Filipinos,” says Alfredo S. Panlilio, PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications President and CEO.
Still, integrating the various technologies that carry traffic for millions of customers is no easy task, and quite realistically, we expect to experience some birth pains,” TCI General Manager Manuel warned earlier.
Although customers can do internal and external porting across operators, there will be limitations with regards to prepaid to postpaid porting within DITO Telecommunity.
The newest telco player does not offer postpaid service yet at present.
Domestic and international inbound and outbound services for SMS will be available across all telcos.
Yet voice calls and roaming at the onset could be limited although these will be “remedied in the soonest possible time”.
On the other hand, full data services will be available. Ported subscribers can start to enjoy the services that their chosen “new” provider offers.
Airtime loading and prepaid top-up will be available across physical stores and retailers. But in the meantime, loading via third party apps and various online channels will be dependent on the capability of these third-party applications.
Furthermore, the availability of postpaid subscriptions to third-party applications via direct carrier billing will also depend on the capability of these applications.