President Rodrigo Duterte signed a new law on February 8, 2019. The law allows mobile phone users to keep their cellphone numbers even if they switch service providers or change their subscription plans. That’s good news for those who’ve grown attached to their phone numbers, as well as anyone who needs to contact someone they haven’t gotten in touch with in a long time.
According to a copy of the measure that was released on Tuesday, February 19, the Mobile Portability Act will help foster Filipinos’ “freedom to choose and to respond to quality, price, and other relevant considerations.”
Under the new law, consumers will be allowed to keep their mobile numbers without any additional charges. The “porting process” – which refers to the system of transferring a number between service providers or subscription plans – should also not take more than 48 hours to finish.
If refused, consumers are entitled to receive up to P40,000 worth of damage settlements from the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC). The telecommunications company concerned will also be fined with up to P1 million and have its license to franchise revoked.
The mobile portability scheme was first explored by the NTC in 2008 but was soon shelved due to high costs of porting processes. Last year, a Senate hearing on the bill found that with recent technological advances, costs of mobile portability have also lowered.