SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian wants to prohibit telecommunication companies from locking their mobile
devices, whether sold as a unit or under a service contract to their respective networks.
Gatchalian filed Senate Bill No. 1643 or the Network Freedom Act, stressing that network
locking not only deprives mobile subscribers from easy movement to other networks, but also limits
competition among industry players.
“Every mobile user should have the right to switch to other service providers that offer
better deals. Unfortunately, the locking of devices prejudices this right. The Network Freedom Act
will ensure that the consumer's right to choose the best service available on the market is
protected,” Gatchalian said.
Typically, the mobile communications service contract between the service provider and the
mobile user contains a “lock-in provision” which requires the latter to exclusively maintain a
monthly postpaid subscription with that telco company on the device.
Therefore, a Globe-locked phone cannot be used with a Smart SIM, and vice versa.
The senator pointed out that the measure is the perfect complement to another pro-consumer
bill he has filed -- Senate Bill No. 1636, the Lifetime Cellphone Number Act -- which would allow
mobile consumers to retain their phone number when switching to another service providers.
The prohibition against phone locking will eliminate one of the everyday stumbling blocks to
the effective implementation and realization of the desired impacts of mobile number portability
instituted by the Lifetime Cellphone Number Act. The passage of these two bills would be a big win
for mobile consumers because it would spark real competition within the telco sector and result in
better service across-the-board,” said Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Economic