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Anti-trust agency pushes mobile number portability

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) is pushing for the implementation of mobile number portability (MNP), a service that will allow mobile phone users to keep their contact numbers whenever they switch to a different telecommunications company.

The PCC said MNP is an option that has long been available in many countries such as Australia, UK, US, and Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore.

The country’s anti-trust authority said the option gives consumers the power of choice when faced with poor service from their telecommunications provider and brings down a barrier that has hampered consumer choice.

“One of the benefits of competition is to have choices, and mobile number portability is a clear example of having a choice in telco service without having to give up one’s long held numbers,” PCC chairman Arsenio Balisacan said.

“In this age when a person’s phone number is considered part of one’s identity, changing numbers can sometimes mean lost opportunities, access, or connections. If MNP is in place, a person can retain one’s number without having to worry about that,” Balisacan added.

According to the PCC, having an MNP in place could also deter scams such as when strangers who “inherit” one’s old number prey on his contacts who were not informed of the switch to a new telco provider.  

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The PCC said mobile number retention is presently not available among telco providers, compelling some subscribers to hold on to a provider despite poor service.

“Consumers should want to stay in a network because of good service and not just because they want to keep their longstanding numbers. When disgruntled consumers want to bolt to a new or another network provider, having MNP in place means people are not prisoners of the network simply because they want to keep their digits,” Balisacan said.

“MNP will remove a huge obstacle to switching from one service provider to another, perhaps even to a new one, which then opens the telco market to more competition” he added. 

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