Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), a subsidiary of PLDT, Inc., has asked Globe Telecom, Inc. (Globe) to remedy and resolve the serious and persistent concerns affecting Globe customers wanting to port in or transfer to Smart but have been unable to do so seamlessly and without fault or difficulty, due to Globe’s system-readiness issues and general unpreparedness to implement the Mobile Number Portability Act (Republic Act No. 11202) or the MNP Law.
The MNP Law guarantees customers the ease of switching network within the mandatory period of 48 hours without the need of changing their mobile number starting September 30, 2021, and prohibits the denial or withholding of, or delay in providing, the benefits of the law to a qualified customer.
Smart’s move comes a day after Smart formally asked the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to look into why Globe’s mobile service provider GOMO had failed to take part in the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) launch last September 30th. Globe had advised customers on September 29ththat MNP will be available on GOMO only this month, due to “unavoidable technical issues”.
In a letter to Globe copied today to NTC Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba, Smart Regulatory Affairs’ Manager Atty. Kenneth E. Regañon wrote, “Globe’s constructive denial of its customers’ choice to switch to Smart seamlessly without the hassle of changing their mobile number, which seemingly stem from system errors and the apparent general unpreparedness of Globe sales force to implement the MNP Law, ultimately compromise, if not maim the spirit of the law, which is to honour and protect the customers’ choice of their preferred network. Given all the serious shortcomings in the first 72 hours, carried over and magnified in the first week of implementation of the MNP Law with no committed timelines for permanent fixes, the pressing issues are beyond just ‘hiccups’.”
Smart has substantiated its concerns in three separate letters over the past week, submitted to the Telecommunications Connectivity Inc. (TCI), the joint venture of the mobile service providers that provides number porting services under the MNP Law.
Smart has listed the following Globe acts and omissions that frustrate the exercise by Globe customers of their right to switch to Smart seamlessly without changing their mobile number:
1) The rejection by the Globe system of the “porting” or transfer request of a Globe customer with a Globe-issued valid unique subscriber codes (USCs). A USC constitutes proof that the customer has been pre-cleared by Globe for transfer to Smart. However, when the Globe customer comes to Smart stores to transfer to Smart, Globe’s system rejects the request due to “bundled services”. Globe has admitted that this is a system error and that the customer is entitled to port into Smart, but has failed to fix the system error to date. After one week, Globe’s system continues to generate the same error to the frustration of its customers wanting to transfer to Smart.
“Globe has since attempted to apply a fix on October 4, but unfortunately, the invalid rejects continued even after the attempted fix. Globe also offered a workaround or interim solution but unfortunately, when we attempt to re-trigger or re-encode the port in requests into our system, some requests still end up getting rejected by Globe. On top of that, the workaround is very tedious for the Smart frontliners and inconvenient for the customers as well.”
As of October 5, Smart logged a 38% rejection rate by Globe due to “technical issues”. The “data fix” is not generating the results Smart needs to complete the porting in of Globe customers to Smart. “We demand a firm commitment on timelines so we can handle appropriately and cascade with our store front liners accordingly,” said Regañon. “Globe’s shortcomings are seriously putting a strain on our own resources as we implement extraordinary measures to bridge the serious gaps that Globe’s issues have created and keep ported customers digitally connected. These shortcomings reveal a failure on the part of Globe to give its customers the freedom to keep their mobile numbers when they choose to switch to their preferred mobile network. Moreover, there is no urgency to commit to defined timelines for permanent fixes.”
2) While the GCash functionalities continue to work after porting, ported customers are unable to buy load using their GCash, resulting in a less than seamless transfer for Globe customers.
In contrast, Smart customers that ported out to Globe continue to enjoy the full functionalities of PayMaya, including buying load using PayMaya, because Smart anticipated this issue and addressed it in time for the MNP launch. In the meantime, Smart is providing all the assistance to Globe customers that have transferred or ported into Smart by offering them PayMaya as an alternative loading wallet.
Globe has yet to provide a timeline to resolve this critical issue but, in what appears to be a statement oblivious of the hardships being suffered by former Globe customers that ported into Smart, and with a hint of righteousness, Globe said in its letter dated October 3 addressed to TCI:
“There should be no reason for Smart to fret on PayMaya’s momentary advantage of being able to be a top up channel for ported numbers. Moreover, there are other available channels for topping up ported numbers.”
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