Million users seen to switch network providers

By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

TELECOMMUNICATIONS Connectivity, Inc. (TCI), the company put up by the country’s dominant mobile network operators to facilitate mobile number portability, expects “a million” subscribers to switch network providers during the initial phase of the implementation.

“Initially, we are projecting a million. But in other countries, 30% of the subscribers are porting out, so we will prepare for it. But initially, we’re setting it at about a million at the initial stage,” TCI General Manager Melanie A. Manuel said at an online briefing.

She said the mobile number portability is “something that will encourage the competitors to expand their network, improve customer experience, and improve their products and services.”

“Of course, you don’t want people to port out, right? So, it is a challenge for all of them,” Ms. Manuel noted.

The commercial launch of the mobile number portability is on Sept. 30. Ms. Manuel said the process is free of charge.

To port within networks, customers should be able to meet the following requirements: an active SIM and the requestor is the assignee of the mobile number to be ported, no remaining balance from previous bill (for postpaid), no existing court prohibitions, and no pending transfer of ownership.

Ms. Manuel said Smart Communications, Inc., Globe Telecom, Inc., and DITO Telecommunity Corp. had invested P120 million in the project. They chose Florida-based Syniverse to be the mobile number portability service provider.

“The entire telco industry and the Philippine government are pushing forward with the same goal of providing Filipinos with better telco services. Aside from encouraging healthier competition amongst the players, MNP (mobile number portability) also grants Filipinos the freedom to switch to their preferred mobile service provider seamlessly and conveniently,” DITO Chief Administrative Officer and TCI Treasurer Adel A. Tamano said at the briefing.

For his part, Vicente Froilan M. Castelo, Globe general counsel and TCI chairman, said: “Mobile Number Portability is a complex process not only do we need to adopt it into our system, but we need to integrate it with the networks of our competitors. MNP involves close coordination with the other telcos to build the system and how the system will react to provide that good customer service. It took us 22 months to build MNP, upgrade the system, integrate with the MNP service provider, and do testing with the other telcos.”

Mario G. Tamayo, TCI president and senior vice-president and head of technology at PLDT and Smart, said: “We want to make sure that we can give the best solutions and services to the Filipino people. Gusto natin pagaanin ang buhay at pasimplehan ang proseso para sa bawat (We want to ease the burden and simplify the process of each) telco subscriber by giving them the power of choice. Through mobile number portability, we are empowering our customers to pursue their passions and purpose.”

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.

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