Republic Act No. 11202, otherwise known as the “Mobile Number Portability Act” was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on 08 February 2019. It took effect on 06 March 2019, or fifteen (15) days following the completion of its publication in the Official Gazette on 19 February 2019.
This new law envisions a nationwide Mobile Number Portability (“MNP”) system which promotes consumer welfare, encourages competition among mobile service providers and aims to balance the relationship between mobile service providers and consumers.
Within 90 days from the effectivity of this law, the National Telecommunications Commission (“NTC”), the government entity mandated to implement the law, shall formulate the implementing rules and regulations in coordination with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (“DICT”), the National Privacy Commission (“NPC”), the Philippine Competition Commission (“PCC”) and other concerned agencies. The mobile service providers shall comply with the provisions of this law within six (6) months from promulgation of the said rules and regulations.
Mobile Number Portability
The main feature of this law is Mobile Number Portability (“MNP”), which, according to Section 3(d) is “the ability of a mobile postpaid or prepaid subscriber who has no existing financial obligation to the donor provider, to retain an existing mobile number despite having moved from one (1) mobile service provider to another, or to change the type of subscription from postpaid to prepaid or vice versa.” Hence, MNP refers to either: a) change of mobile service provider, or b) change of subscription type from postpaid to prepaid, or vice versa, with the same mobile service provider. In both cases, the subscriber’s existing mobile number is maintained. Under Section 6, national MNP shall be provided “to all qualified subscribers completely free of charge.”
Mediation with the NTC
Section 11 requires the implementing rules and regulations to prescribe a mediation procedure before the NTC for customer complaints in case of delayed or denied applications for MNP.
Non-imposition of Interconnection Fee or Charge
Further, Section 9 provides that “no interconnection fee or charge shall be imposed by any mobile service provider for domestic calls and SMS made by a subscriber after the effectivity of this Act.”
Fines and Penalties
The NTC is authorized to impose fines, starting from P10,000.00 for refusal to perform portability within the period allowed by the law and before a complaint is filed, up to P1,000,000.00 and revocation of franchise for the fifth and subsequent instances of compliance even after mediation. Further, the NTC is authorized to award damages not exceeding P40,000.00 in favor of the subscriber.