So last September 30, the Philippines has officially took into effect their MNP Act or Mobile Number Portability act in which ALL subscribers regardless of network, can switch to another network and keep their number. (A more detailed explanation of this can be found in Rappler’s article here.)
And just like clockwork, come October 1, many social media posts of people switching to their preferred carriers took place me included and let me talk about my personal experience and try to list down the steps I took and experienced to set everyone’s expectations when finally deciding to switch to any carrier.
As of this writing, this will only apply when you’ll be switching to SMART. I’m sure it’ll be a similar experience to Globe and since DITO does not offer postpaid services yet, they will not be discussed in this blog.
When switching to SMART, you have two options. But with either path you choose, you will always start from here.
Your options are:
- Online – The better route, I think.
- Onsite – This is where you will visit an actual SMART business center and speak to a SMART rep face to face.
This will totally depend on your preference, of course. If you’re still wary of facing people or being out in public, option 1 would be a better choice. The downside is that it does take days between steps whereas with going onsite, the only downside is having to wait in line and the wait lines differ per location and time, of course.
Before we continue, here are the options of what you can do under the MNP act:
- Switch from postpaid to prepaid (within the same carrier)
- Switch from prepaid to postpaid (within the same carrier)
- Switch from postpaid to prepaid (from SMART to Globe or Globe to SMART)
- Switch from prepaid to postpaid (from TNT, TM, DITO, or SMART to Globe or TNT, TM, DITO, or Globe to SMART)
In other words, ALMOST all sim card plans and types can switch either way.
STEP 1.1 – For postpaid subscribers switching, you will need an USC or a Unique Subscriber Code. That’s the number that links your number to you. Only the carriers here in the Philippines have this number and you will need to contact them to get a hold of that number. For Globe, just type in “USC” and send it to 5050 but to be completely honest with you, this was a stupid process because it would just send you a link to schedule an appointment with their business center.
STEP 1.2 – For prepaid subscribers, here is where it becomes a bit challenging; for switching or even to get a replacement sim card (probably your sim is very old and does not have 5G or even 4G enabled yet), you will need an ICCID or Integrated Circuit Card ID. If you happen to still have the sim card case that came with your sim card OR if the back part of your sim card is still readable (of course, a lot of us who are careful with our numbers would just cut the sim cards ourselves just to make it fit in our newer phones) then you are scott free. Otherwise, you are stuck with that sim card FOREVER. For some reason, the Philippine carriers decided not to have the ICCIDs embedded on the sim cards like EVERYONE else around the world.
ANYWAY! Moving on.
STEP 2 – Now that you have your USC or ICCID numbers then you can go ahead and process your number porting with SMART through their website. We decided to do the online route. Once you’ve filled out the online form with all the necessary information, someone from SMART will call you to discuss your plan options.
As of this writing, here are the choices:
STEP 3 – Once you have made your choice over the phone, they will tell you what to expect and immediately send you an email with two forms that you will need to fill out.
STEP 4 – Once you have submitted the forms another email will be sent acknowledging receipt of the forms. A few days later, another email and a text message will be sent saying that your application has been approved a new SMART sim card is on its way.
STEP 5 – Once you receive the new sim card, take note that information such as account number, ICCID, and even the phone number will be listed. When we got our new SMART sim card, we got confused because we were under the impression that we were were keeping our old number. When we spoke to a SMART rep, they explained that since the sim card was being sent via courier and not through a business center, there was a risk of the sim card getting lost during transit or even stolen. If your ported number was written in it, then you would have lost your number or at least have to go through the entire process of filing for a list sim and yada, yada, yada.
STEP 6 – Someone from SMART will call to confirm if you’ve receuved your new SMART sim card safe and sound and once you’ve confirmed receipt, they will then start the activation and final porting of your old number to the SMART network. Expected time is between 4-6 hours.
So there you have it. A complete tito guide on what to expect when moving to a different carrier while maintaining you same number. The only reason why we needed to switch carriers is because Globe’s signals are weak AF inside our house and my mom needed to be easily contacted because of her work.
Let me know in the comments below if this is helpful. Share this with your friends if they are looking to switch carriers. NOTE: That Globe’s process might be slightly different but I think it will be similar.