PRESS RELEASE 2017-026
November 8, 2017

 

PCC bats for empowered consumers by allowing them to keep their mobile numbers when switching telcos

 

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) is pushing for the introduction of mobile number portability (MNP), giving consumers the power of choice when faced with poor service from their telecommunications provider.

Allowing mobile phone users to keep their contact numbers whenever they switch telcos brings down a barrier that has hampered consumer choice.

MNP is an option that has long been available in many countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and in neighboring Malaysia and Singapore.

“One of the benefits of competition is to have choices, and mobile number portability is a clear example of having a choice in telco service without having to give up one’s long held numbers,” PCC Chairman Arsenio M. Balisacan said.

“In this age when a person’s phone number is considered part of one’s identity, changing numbers can sometimes mean lost opportunities, access, or connections. If MNP is in place, a person can retain one’s number without having to worry about that,” he added.

MNP can also deter scams, one version of which is where strangers who “inherit” your old number prey on your contacts who were not informed of your switch to a new telecom provider.

At present, mobile number retention is not available among telco providers, which may compel subscribers to hold on to a provider despite poor service.

“Consumers should want to stay in a network because of good service and not just because they want to keep their longstanding numbers. When disgruntled consumers want to bolt to a new or another network provider, having MNP in place means people are not prisoners of the network simply because they want to keep their digits,” Balisacan said.

“MNP will remove a huge obstacle to switching from one service provider to another, perhaps even to a new one, which then opens the telco market to more competition” he added.

The PCC’s renewed call for MNP comes on the heels of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s indictment of the Philippines’ internet service as “no good.” In an October 25 speech at the De La Salle Manila campus, Ma, co-founder of e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, said the government and the private sector should look for ways to improve Internet service in the Philippines.

PCC pushed for the inclusion of the MNP system in Senate Bill No. 1237 during a public hearing on Tuesday by the Committee on Economic Affairs. Prior to this, it also recommended the inclusion of MNP in the franchise renewals of Now Telecom Company Inc., and Smart. PCC is also on the lookout for potential barriers, such as network feature, functions, or capabilities that will hinder the implementation of a nationwide MNP system.

As the competition and antitrust authority in the country, the PCC submits recommendations to Congress. PCC is the national government agency duly mandated by the Philippine Competition Act to promote competition in the market, prohibit anti-competitive conduct, and push for the level playing field among businesses, including the telecom sector.