One significant headache of Filipino mobile phone users is the seeming disposability of mobile numbers. This goes double for prepaid users, who might burn through several SIM cards all with different mobile numbers and networks over a course of several years. There is a solution, one already in use in other countries around the world: the implementation of portability, in which a user can save his phone number of choice when he changes to and from prepaid and postpaid plans, or even across networks. The country’s various telecom providers, old and new, have begun steps towards portability last January, with a goal date for September.
And on the last day of September, Thursday the 30th according to CNN Philippines, the three major telecommunications companies of the Philippines have kick-started their mobile number portability cross-networking. This is overseen by the joint venture established by PLDT-Smart, Globe Telecom and DITO Telecommunity, Telecommunications Connectivity Inc., which will facilitate the transfer of mobile numbers by user request across networks, or prepaid-postpaid within their current network. This is the realization of Republic Act No. 11202, or the Mobile Number Portability Act, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last year.
But as with all new tech-related things, probably even more here in the Philippines, the debut of mobile number portability is not complete in scale. It does not even work at all times. Melanie Manuel, TCI general manager, said this Thursday that there will be some hiccups on the early days of this service saying, “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.” But for all intents and purposes, a Globe number can become a Smart or DITO number by taking certain steps with TCI.
As said earlier, there are limitations in place with the advent of number portability in the country. Voice calls and roaming capacity may be cut short, though Manuel promises that this will be fixed soon. At least domestic and international text messaging is unaffected. All networks should now allow their prepaid numbers to become postpaid and vice versa. The only exception is DITO Telecommunity, which has no postpaid service, only prepaid. Third-party and online mobile loading should work, though it depends on each third-part loading app’s capacity. Loading within network will have no problems however.
Image courtesy of NoypiGeeks