Telcos told to implement mobile phone law
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian renewed his call for the immediate implementation of the Mobile Number Portability Act (MNPA) ahead of Congress’ granting of franchises to new players in the telecommunications industry, according to a report by Manila Times.
Gatchalian, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Services, made the appeal in the middle of the upper chamber’s deliberations last Wednesday on House Bill 7332, which will renew for another 25 years the franchise granted to Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. 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,” the senator said, adding that it should have been enforced in January last year.
Following a delay owing to the Covid-19 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 currently using and without having to pay for interconnection fees for calling or texting across different service providers.
The National Telecommunications Commission, along with Smart Communications Inc., Globe Telecoms Inc. 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 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.
“This was enacted into law before the virus was discovered, which they claimed to have caused the delay in processing the MNPA. Perhaps, the telcos can now speed up the integration and the other technical preparations for the MNPA which should have benefited the people for more than a year now,” he said in Filipino.
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