‘NTC must fix glitches in MNP service rollout’


The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ought to intervene to fix the delays in the full implementation of the mobile number portability (MNP) service, a think tank said on Monday.

Infrawatch Convenor Terry Ridon said his group has filed a petition before the regulator to initiate motu proprio proceedings to address problems related to the implementation of the service.

The group also asked the NTC to order the telcos to “faithfully comply with the provisions” of the MNP Act, and make them pay penalties and fines should they fail to comply with the said provisions.

He said the telcos should never use “system glitches” as an excuse to poorly implement the said law, which further democratized telco services by giving consumers the power to choose their providers without changing their mobile numbers.

“It is our position that system glitches and bugs should have been identified and resolved prior to commercial launch, because a sufficient length of time has been granted to various telcos to prepare for the MNP’s commercial launch,” Ridon said.

To recall, Globe Telecom Inc. is being blamed by Smart Communications Inc. for the delays in porting service. Globe replied that it is still fixing “technical issues” of its GOMO brand, noting that the delays were without “malice or intent to violate the MNP Law.”

MNP services started on September 30. Globe said its porting services for GOMO will start today, October 12.

“While we welcome the clarification of telcos that there is no bad faith in the delays and problems in implementing the MNP, it remains our position that the NTC should keep telcos honest by ensuring that they cannot impose process roadblocks to frustrate the objectives of the MNP,” Ridon said.

He added that telcos should not give its subscribers a hard time porting out of their current networks.

“With the coronavirus continuing to be an everyday risk for all, porting out of their networks should not be more than a one-day affair. Telcos have failed if their customers need to return to their stores simply because their MNP protocols are not yet in place,” he said.

Ridon also alleged that the telcos have been “imposing internal process roadblocks to deter their existing subscribers from migrating to other telcos.”

“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,” he said.

These, he said, “subvert the efficiency timelines under the MNP law and its implementing rules.”

“We have received reports that several customers who ported out of Globe had been unable to use the full functionality of their virtual wallets such as topping-up their mobile load and receiving One-Time PIN notifications,” he said.

Hence, he said, the NTC should intervene and help consumers get the full benefits of the law.

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

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