MOBILE phone users may start applying for mobile number porting in the third quarter of this year, Globe Telecom, Inc. Chief Commercial Officer Alberto M. de Larrazabal said.

“I think the schedule is third quarter [of] this year,” Mr. Larrazabal told reporters on Friday last week, when asked about the actual rollout of the mobile number portability services.

He added: “What we are doing in the Philippines is we are setting up the clearing house.”

Globe, PLDT, Inc.’s wireless unit Smart Communications and new player Dito Telecommunity Corp. have tapped Florida-based Syniverse as their mobile number portability service provider.

Syniverse will serve as a clearinghouse for the telcos to ensure the smooth implementation of number porting services. The company assists mobile operators globally in managing and securing their mobile and network communications.

“The three of us are investing [in the clearing house], and we will set it up,” Mr. de Larrazabal said.

He said the three telco firms will jointly appoint someone to manage the clearing house.

The three telco firms received on Jan. 21 an approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission on the incorporation of the Telecommunications Connectivity, Inc., which they jointly put up to implement the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) Act.

The new company, according to Globe, will “enable number porting services in line with the new mobile number portability initiative of the government or Republic Act 11202 also known as the ‘Mobile Number Portability Act.’”

The MNP Act, which was signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte into law in February 2019, allows mobile phone users to switch networks without changing their numbers.

Under the law, mobile number portability refers to the ability of a mobile postpaid or prepaid subscriber, who has no existing financial obligation to the service provider, to retain an existing mobile number despite having moved from one mobile service provider to another, or to change subscription mode from postpaid to prepaid or vice versa.

The law requires telcos to provide mobile number portability to subscribers nationwide free of charge.

Every telecommunication service provider has to change subscription mode within 24 hours from the time a subscriber submits application, the law also said. — Arjay L. Balinbin