AWARE of the need to address the many concerns of cellular phone users, the Senate has approved on
third and final reading a bill that mandates telecommunications firms to offer the best service to
The proposed “Lifetime Cellphone Number Act,” authored and sponsored by neophyte but
highly-effective Senator Sherwin Gatchalian of Valenzuela City, also aims to promote competition
among telecommunications entities.
This proposed piece of legislation will do by requiring public telecommunications firms in
the Philippines to provide the millions of cellphone users with the so-called MNP (mobile number
The MNP allows the consumer to retain his/her existing mobile phone number even when he/she
moves from one service provider to another, or when he/she changes subscription from postpaid to
“The bill would give consumers the freedom to choose the provider that would give the best
value for their money without having to lose or change their mobile (phone) numbers,” said
Under the measure, telecommunication entities that delay, withhold or refuse to deliver the
benefits of mobile number portability face a fine of up to P1 million or revocation of their
Senate Bill (SB) No. 1636 also included an amendment introduced by Senator Panfilo “Ping”
Lacson of Cavite removing the inter-connectivity fees imposed by telecommunications firms on
subscribers for calls and messages.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of hastening the approval of the proposed measure
considering the mushrooming number of complaints against the country’s mobile service providers.
Note that President Duterte has also ordered the Department of Information and
Communications Technology (DICT) to hasten the entry of a “new major telco player to improve
internet services to the public.”
According to estimates, a new telco player could spend anywhere from P150 billion to P300
billion in its first five years.
Certainly, the government is on the right path in addressing the various concerns of
cellular phone and internet users.