Gatchalian renews call to apply Mobile Number Portability Act ahead of franchise renewal of new telco

Gatchalian renews call to apply Mobile Number Portability Act ahead of franchise renewal of new telco

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Win Gatchalian renewed his call for the immediate implementation of the Mobile Number Portability Act (MNPA) ahead of Congress’ grant of franchises to new players in the telecommunications industry.

The senator made the appeal in the middle of the upper chamber’s deliberations last Wednesday on House Bill No. 7332 which will renew for another 25 years the franchise granted to Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company Inc. or Mislatel, presently known as Dito Telecommunity Corp., the country’s third player.

The company’s existing franchise is set to expire on April 24, 2023.

“The MNPA will give us the flexibility of moving to a new telco without changing our personal numbers. It’s very difficult and very taxing to change and send notices to everyone if we switch to a new service provider. Besides, the implementation of this law has long been delayed,” Gatchalian said, adding that it should have been enforced in January last year.

Following a delay owing to the pandemic, the country’s telcos have committed to rollout in phases this year the implementation of the law which will allow mobile phone subscribers to switch networks or change subscriptions without losing the mobile numbers they are using and without having to pay for interconnection fees for calling or texting across different service providers.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), along with Smart Communications, Globe Telecoms and Dito should expedite the process of interoperability ahead of their earlier commitment to fully launch commercially the mobile portability by September this year, stressed Gatchalian, the principal author of Republic Act No. 11202.

“With the MNPA in place, it will enhance competition and it will make our lives easier as we will be able to choose which service suits us best,” he added.

“Isinabatas ito noong hindi pa nadidiskubre ang virus na sinasabi nilang nagpatagal ng proseso para sa MNPA. Baka naman maaaring madaliin na ngayon ng mga telco ang integration at iba pang technical preparations para sa MNPA na dapat sana ay mahigit isang taon nang napapakinabangan ng sambayanan,” he said. (AI/MTVN)

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