By THEPHILBIZNEWS STAFF
Following the practice in almost all parts of the world, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11202 that allows mobile subscribers to keep their mobile phone numbers for life. The new law requires mobile service provides to provide nationwide mobile number portability to subscribers.
The Republic Act No. 11202 known as Mobile Number Portability Act aims “to promote consumer welfare as it fosters the freedom to choose and to respond to quality, price, and other relevant considerations without the consumers having to change their mobile numbers whenever they change mobile service providers or subscription plan.
This gives both postpaid or prepaid mobile subscribers who has no existing financial obligation to the service provider, to retain an existing mobile number despite having moved from one mobile service provider to another, or to change subscription mode from postpaid to prepaid or vice versa.
The said law is an offshoot and integration of two version from the Senate, which is Senate Bill No. 1636 and House of Representative House Bill No. 7652.
Furthermore, the Section 3 (a) of the law states: “The basic premise behind a nationwide Mobile Number Portability Act system is to promote consumer welfare as it fosters the freedom to choose and to respond to quality, price and other relevant considerations without the consumers having to change their mobile numbers whenever they change mobile service providers or subscription plans.”
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has 90 days to issue its implementing rules and regulations, and mobile telecommunication service providers have six months from promulgation of such rules to set up the mechanism for number portability and “comply with the provisions of this Act.”
Under the new law, these service providers have to provide mobile number portability to subscribers nationwide free of charge. The law further says that “in no case” can mobile number portability “be delayed, withheld, refused, or otherwise not delivered within the period provided under this Act.”
Every telecommunication service provider has to change subscription mode within 24 hours from the time a subscriber submits application, according to the law.
The law provides authority to the NTC to impose a P10,000 fine in case portability is not provided within the period set under the law. Also, a fine of not less than P40,000 will be imposed in case mobile number portability “is unjustly refused even after mediation”.
Subsequent violations would provide stiffer fines of P100,000 to P1 million plus revocation of franchise on the fifth time.