New mobile feature to weed-out anti-competitive behavior among telcos

MANILA — A Senator on Thursday reiterated his call for the passage of a bill that could weed out anti-competitive behavior within the telecommunications industry.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian earlier filed SBN 1237 or the Mobile Number Portability Act which seeks to allow mobile users to retain their existing cell phone numbers when switching to a different service provider.

Gatchalian made this call as the Senate continues to conduct hearings on SBN 1302, which seeks to extend the legislative franchise of Smart Communications, the wireless subsidiary of PLDT, Inc.

The neophyte senator, chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, said that this measure can also improve the quality of services provided by industry players.

To recall, Gatchalian filed this measure last Nov. 14, 2016.

“The lack of consumer mobility in the telco industry leaves consumers with little choice but to suffer through inferior service for the sake of convenience,” Gatchalian said.

“Allowing consumers to retain their mobile identity when switching service providers would force telcos to engage in genuine competition and improve their services if they want to persuade their existing customers to stay with them,” he added.

Gatchalian said that his measure will also grant the National Telecommunications Commission powers to better exercise its vital regulatory functions in the telco industry.

He said that the Mobile Number Portability Act is a simple yet effective policy that can be implemented within a shorter time table while other reforms take more time to implement.