‘GOMO must comply with MNP law’


Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) has asked the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to question the delays in the implementation of the mobile number portability (MNP) by Globe Telecom Inc.’s GOMO.

Kenneth E. Regañon, Smart’s regulatory affairs manager, sent a letter to NTC Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba asking the regulator to “look into why Globe’s GOMO had failed to take part in the MNP launch on September 30.”

“Even the President of the Philippines cannot stop the law from being implemented. How then can a unilateral act of one covered by the law, delay implementation?” his letter read.

GOMO is a mobile service provider operated by Globe. It earlier sent an advisory to its subscribers that it can only participate in the MNP “by October 2021 due to unavoidable technical issues.”

Citing Republic Act 11202, Reganon said GOMO, just like other mobile service providers, is “obligated to provide nationwide mobile number portability to all qualified subscribers.”

MNP was launched on September 30. In a nutshell, MNP provides subscribers the ability to switch from one network to another without changing their mobile numbers.

“The MNP Act applies to all MSPs without exception and GOMO subscribers can demand from Globe a seamless network switch starting September 30, and yet Globe has just issued an advisory denying GOMO subscribers precisely this right. We do not believe that Globe is above the law, that is why we are asking the Commission’s clarification on this issue” said Regañon.

Globe has yet to reply to queries as of press time.

In a related development, think tank Infrawatch alleged that there are “delays in the implementation” of the MNP, saying that it has received reports that telcos are using “bugs and glitches as an excuse for delays.”

“We have been receiving concerning reports relating to process roadblocks being imposed by specific telcos to throttle the full implementation of the MNP. This is unacceptable because the government and the public have been expecting a seamless implementation of the MNP when it was officially launched at the end of September. The system glitches and bugs should have been identified and resolved prior to commercial launch,” Infrawatch Convenor Terry Ridon said.

He noted that the telcos have had ample time to properly execute the MNP.

“More importantly, this is a disservice to telco subscribers who expose themselves to coronavirus risks when they go to telco offices to port out of their existing mobile networks. It is frustrating for them to find out that their MNP request cannot proceed due to system glitches and bugs. In fact, we have received a considerable number of reports from Globe subscribers who experienced these problems,” he said.

The MNP was established to provide greater convenience to subscribers will providing them with more freedom to choose their preferred network without the hassle of changing mobile numbers.

The three telcos all pitched in roughly P120 million to build the necessary infrastructure to make this possible.

Ridon alleged that telcos are purportedly “imposing internal process roadblocks to deter their existing subscribers from migrating to other telcos.”

“Process roadblocks being imposed by telcos subvert the efficiency timelines under the MNP law and its implementing rules. Telcos are doing this by limiting booking appointments relating to MNP, defining bundled services broadly to cover a wider swath of excepted mobile numbers, and limiting functionality required for third-party services such as virtual wallets and online banking.”

In particular, Globe subscribers are “unable to use the full functionality of their virtual wallets such as topping-up their mobile load and receiving One-Time PIN notifications.”

He also called on the NTC to fix this issue. “The NTC should nip these delays in the bud, which is why it should decisively act even no more than one week into the MNP’s full implementation. Because at the end of the day, the buck stops with the NTC if the MNP’s birth pangs remain unresolved for a longer period of time.”

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