MOBILE phone users may soon have more freedom to switch from one service provider to another without even changing their mobile numbers with the Senate’s passage of the Lifetime Cellphone Number Act on final reading.
Authored by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, Senate Bill (SB) 1636 would soon provide mobile users with the option of keeping their existing mobile numbers even as they switch networks or mode of subscription services like form prepaid to postpaid and vice versa.
The bill prohibits Public Telecommunications Entities (PTEs) from locking in mobile devices to their respective networks, regardless whether the devices are sold as a unit or under a service contract.
“Advancing genuine consumer welfare starts by recognizing the right of every user to choose what is best for them,” according to Gatchalian, also the sponsor of the bill.
The Lifetime Cellphone Number Act, he said, would also foster a spirit of market competition among telecommunication companies that in turn would be beneficial to millions of subscribers.
The National Telecommunications Communications in 2008 attempted to come up with a similar scheme but it was not able to get enough support mainly because of the high costs involved.
But with technological advances over the years, the technology needed to do it has become cheaper, making it easier to implement.
Apart from allowing subscribers to retain their mobile numbers, SB 1636 also removes inter-connection charges being imposed by network companies for calls and text messages sent to numbers registered under competing networks.