The Philippines' Department of ICT has instructed regulator NTC to draw up rules and regulations requiring operators to unlock phones and devices after the contract lock-in period.
As per the instructions, subscribers who have completed their lock-in periods and have no outstanding debts will be able to demand to have their phones unlocked through convenient processes that must be provided by mobile operators.
The department recently issued a memorandum order giving telco subscribers the option of changing between compatible wireless service providers, and the new rules and regulations will enforce this order.
“This is an additional Christmas gift of this administration to the Filipino telco subscribers. While we empower the industry through the entry of the new major player, we are also pushing for pro-consumer measures,” DICT acting secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr said.
“This is also a step to encourage our service providers to innovate on their offers.”
The department recently selected Mislatel, a consortium between China Telecom and business concerns owned by local tycoon Dennis Uy, to become the market's third mobile operator. The company has pledged to cover 70% of the population within three years of operation.
Meanwhile the NTC has issued an order instructing fixed line operators to transition to 8-digit telephone numbers within the Greater Metro Manila area.
The memorandum, which is aimed at ensuring there is adequate supply of mobile numbers to meet demand, will see fixed line operators within the region add an extra digit to all phone numbers in the area, with separate digits assigned per telecom operator.
Operators will be required to transition to eight digit numbers in the area by March 2019.