By Emmie Abadilla
Mobile phone number portability may soon be enjoyed by subscribers.
Local mobile operators Globe Telecom, Inc., PLDT, Inc. subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. and new player, Dito Telecommunity, on Thursday announced they are investing in a joint venture (JV) with Syniverse to enable number porting services in line with the government’s new mobile number portability initiative.
This will be the first step towards the full implementation of Republic Act 11202, also known as the “Mobile Number Portability Act” (MNP Act).
Through the MNP Act, mobile phone users can keep their numbers even when they transfer to another service provider, or when they switch their subscription from postpaid to prepaid, or vice-versa.
The telcos chose Syniverse, touted as “the world’s most connected company,” to be their mobile number portability service provider (MNPSP).
Syniverse will bring in the technical infrastructure to function as clearinghouse for the three telcos and ensure smooth implementation of number porting services.
“For more than 30 years, Syniverse delivered industry-leading innovations in software and services that connect more than seven billion devices globally and process more than $35 billion in mobile transactions each year,” said Paul Hodges, senior vice president of sales, Syniverse.
Under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the MNP Act, the mobile operators will equally share the capital expenditure for the software, hardware and other facilities required by the MNPSP.
However, the sharing of operating and maintenance costs shall be agreed upon by the mobile operators and the MNPSP.
As MNPSP, Syniverse is likewise expected to fulfill all functions outlined in the implementing rules and regulations under the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Memorandum Circular 03-06-2019 issued in July this year.
With the initial step of setting up the support mechanisms, the actual implementation of MNP will be contingent upon the completion of integration and interoperability tests of the clearinghouse facilities with the separate multi-vendor systems of the mobile operators.
Based on experience in other countries where customers are charged for porting fees, the average period for completing the implementation of MNP is 27 months from the regulator’s issuance of the IRR.
For the Philippine market, Syniverse estimates the period of integration and interoperability to be no later than 18 months from setting up of the support mechanism. In addition, porting services shall be free of charge to the customers.
“We’ve taken the key steps forward but there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of technical preparations. We at PLDT and Smart have geared up for this,” noted Alfredo S. Panlilio, chief revenue officer of PLDT and Smart, and president of Smart.
“We are taking steps to put in place a seamless and efficient process for our existing and would-be customers who would like to avail of this service in the future,” he added.
“Given the technical and operational complexity of mobile number portability, we wanted to make sure the MNPSP has the experience and capacity to fulfill its obligations under the law,” according to Globe Chief Technology and Information Officer and Chief Strategy Officer Gil B. Genio.
“Our utmost priority is to ensure that the experience of our customers is seamless and of utmost convenience should they decide to port their numbers. We are one with the government in having our customers enjoy global mobile practices.”