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House OKs Mobile Number Portability Bill

The Lower House of Representatives recently approved the mobile-number portability bill (MNP).

MANILA, April 6, 2018–Congress recently approved a bill allowing phone users to change their network subscription as they wish without changing their original phone number.

“A mobile number represents the identity of a mobile phone user in the digital world. It contains vital information, as well as their ties with other users. Through long and consistent use, a mobile phone user acquires property rights over their phone number. By forcing them to surrender this number upon changing networks, they are, in effect, being deprived of a vital commodity in the digital world,” explained Information and Communications Technology (ICT) committee chairman Rep. Victor A. Yapo in a statement.

He said the mobile-number portability bill (MNP) will help safeguard the identity of the user that comes with their phone number after an extended period of usage.

Under the proposed bill, telecommunications companies and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will work together to formulate a system that will ensure the enforcement of the MNP bill.

The bill also states that while a subscriber’s move to a different network is being processed, the donor provider must continue providing them with all mobile telecommunications services until an otherwise specified date.

“This bill is revolutionary in that it would break the dominance of current telcos in the industry. It can benefit new and small players, spur competition and improve PTEs’ service, which would entice more subscribers,” the chairman noted.

The bill also states that violators will be fined by the NTC an amount ranging from Php 100,000 to Php 300,000 for the first offense, and Php 400,000 to Php 600,000 for the second offense.

Subsequent offenses, meanwhile, carry fines that will range from Php 700,000 to Php 1 million as well as the cancellation of franchise to operate.

The proposed act consolidates House Bills No. 2873, 5195, 5765, and 7148 which were filed by Rep. Victor A. Yap (2nd District, Tarlac), Rep. Lord Allan Q. Velasco (Lone District, Marinduque), Rep. Wes Gatchalian (1st District, Valenzuela), and Rep. Alfred Vargas (5th District, Quezon City), respectively. (Niceforo Balbedina/Luzon Times)

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