Smart, Globe tussle over MNP service


The mobile number portability (MNP) service has created tension between the two largest wireless services providers in the Philippines, with Smart Communications Inc. alleging that Globe Telecom Inc. has employed a “constructive denial” of network switching to subscribers.

Smart and Globe traded barbs over the MNP service. For one, Smart said in a statement that Globe is delaying the implementation of the porting service causing inconvenience to consumers.

Smart alleged that Globe’s system rejects network transfer requests for subscribers even those with Globe-issued valid unique subscriber codes, which in a nutshell, means that subscribers have been pre-cleared by Globe for transfer to another network.

“When the Globe customer comes to Smart stores to transfer to Smart, Globe’s system rejects the request due to ‘bundled services.’ Globe has admitted that this is a system error and that the customer is entitled to port in to Smart, but has failed to fix the system error to date. After one week, Globe’s system continues to generate the same error to the frustration of its customers wanting to transfer to Smart,” Smart said.

Smart added that Globe had already attempted to “apply a fix” on the issue, but “the invalid rejects continued even after the attempted fix.”

Smart has since logged a 38-percent rejection rate by Globe due to these technical issues.

“We demand a firm commitment on timelines so we can handle appropriately and cascade with our store frontliners accordingly. Globe’s shortcomings are seriously putting a strain on our own resources as we implement extraordinary measures to bridge the serious gaps that Globe’s issues have created, and keep ported customers digitally connected,” said Smart Regulatory Affairs Manager Kenneth E. Regañon.

“These shortcomings reveal a failure on the part of Globe to give its customers the freedom to keep their mobile numbers when they choose to switch to their preferred mobile network. Moreover, there is no urgency to commit to defined timelines for permanent fixes.”

Aside from this, Regañon said Globe subscribers that ported into Smart had issues when loading their mobile phones via GCash, a Globe-owned financial technology provider.

Smart has already asked the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to look into this issue, specifically the delays on the part of Globe-branded mobile service provider GOMO.

In a separate statement, Globe said it “strongly denies any malice or intent to violate the MNP law.”

“Being transparent to our GOMO customers, we have sent out SMS advisories on the delay of MNP service readiness to keep our customers fully informed,” Globe said.

It said the issues are simply “birth pains” related to the new porting service.

“This is especially true in our case because of our multiple brands that have multiple functionalities which are differentiated from our core brands,” said Globe.

Globe also called out Smart for bringing the issue to the NTC, saying that this should be resolved within the Telecommunications Connectivity Inc. (TCI), a joint venture among the three telcos for the porting service.

“All issues and wins of the MNP service are being discussed at length at the management committee of TCI. All service providers are aware of the challenges currently being experienced. It does seem this complaint is being done in bad faith on the part of Smart,” Globe said.

Globe said GOMO will be able to provide porting service by October 12, a 12-day delay from the September 30 deadline of launching the MNP.

“We want to make sure that the service will be offered without posing additional problems or complications to our customer. So far, the company has not received a request from a GOMO customer wanting to avail of the MNP service.”

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