Mobile number portability goes live in PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 30) — Mobile subscribers can now switch to another network provider while retaining their numbers as telco players start the implementation of the number portability on Thursday.

However, some birth pains must be expected, said an official from Telecommunications Connectivity Inc. (TCI)—the joint venture of the country's major telco players that is tasked to facilitate mobile number portability.

"We do expect to experience some inconveniences as we start offering the service, 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," TCI general manager Melanie Manuel was quoted as saying in a statement Thursday.

TCI said most of the porting services could be tapped.

But prepaid to postpaid porting within DITO Telecommunity is not yet available as the new player "currently does not offer postpaid service."

While text messaging for domestic and international inbound and outbound services will be available, there will be limitations on voice calls and roaming. "These initial limitations will be remedied in the soonest possible time," TCI said.

Loading via third-party apps and various online channels will also be dependent on the capability of these third-party applications.

In July, Manuel said the group was projecting an initial one million subscribers to avail of mobile number portability services.

Dominant telcos Globe Telecom and PLDT ended the first half of the year with 81.7 million and 71.68 million mobile subscribers, respectively.

New challenger DITO Telecommunity, meanwhile, has three million subscribers, as of September 21.

RELATED: DITO to take advantage of number portability to corner 30% of market

Globe's GOMO delays offering of number porting services to October 12

Globe's digital telco GOMO, on the other hand, has faced a delay in its participation in the MNP rollout, which has been called out by competitor Smart.

In a statement on Thursday, October 7, the Ayala-led telco said GOMO will be able to start offering number porting services on October 12. So far, the digital telco has yet to receive requests from its customers.

"We want to make sure that the service will be offered without posing additional problems or complications to our customers. We are sincere in our intent to give our mobile customers the ability to choose their favorite provider and we are doing our best to comply," Globe said.

Meanwhile, Globe's core brands—Globe Prepaid, Postpaid, Platinum and TM—have started providing portability services.

Smart on Wednesday said it submitted its complaint to the National Telecommunications Commission over GOMO's failure to take part in the Sept. 30 launch.

"Even the President of the Philippines cannot stop the law from being implemented. How then can a unilateral act of one covered by the law, delay implementation?" Smart Regulatory Affairs' manager Atty. Kenneth E. Regañon said in a letter addressed to NTC commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba.

"The MNP Act applies to all MSPs without exception and GOMO subscribers can demand from Globe a seamless network switch starting September 30, and yet GLOBE has just issued an advisory denying GOMO subscribers precisely this right. We do not believe that Globe is above the law, that is why we are asking the Commission's clarification on this issue," the Smart representative said.

Globe, however, said all telco players are "aware of the challenges" as these are being discussed at the management committee of TCI—a joint venture of the telco carriers that include Smart.

"It does seem this complaint is being done in bad faith on the part of Smart," Globe added.