Senator Win Gatchalian is optimistic that the Lifetime Cellphone Number Act will encourage entry of new players and stimulate healthy competition within the telecommunications industry.
“Ang pinakamahalaga dito ay ang pagpasok ng bagong players. Kung may papasok na third, or fourth, or fifth player, hindi na sila (telco companies) mahihirapang kumuha ng customer dahil dala-dala na natin ang ating cellphone number at pwede na tayong lumipat sa mga bagong telcos,” he explained in an ambush interview.
The Lifetime Cellphone Number Act (Senate Bill No. 1237) aims to provide convenient movement of mobile subscribers from one service provider to another while retaining usage of their existing cellphone numbers, whether prepaid and postpaid. This flawless subscriber-transfer among telco players is seen to generate improved services with better deals to offer which will greatly benefit consumers.
During a Technical Working Group hearing on the measure Gatchalian, who is the chairman of the Senate Economic Affairs Committee and principal author of the bill, stressed the need to provide mobile portability completely free of charge to subscribers, noting that imposing an added cost “has always been a barrier to any competition.”
He suggested that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) should be given the responsibility to determine guidelines on whether the costs will be absorbed by the recipient provider, or the new service provider of the mobile subscriber.
“The regulator and the policy maker, we are in harmony to make it free. But we will include a provision in the law to let the NTC determine who will absorb the costs, if ever. I think that should be left with the regulator to determine. It is too fluid to include in the law, but we will give the NTC flexibility to determine…but from a consumer’s standpoint, it will be free,” he said.