Number porting in The Philippines (or lack thereof)

For those who aren’t familiar with number porting, it is a process where if a person has a telephone number, that telephone number will not change even if that person changes carriers throughout its lifetime. The telephone number follows the person, to put it in another way. Telcos in the Philippines, unfortunately, do not offer such a service. It is a generally accepted social fact that telephone numbers (cell numbers, to be specific), are transient. One person may change numbers anytime during their lifetime and the work with re-establishing a telephone number-to-person association is accepted as a natural part of the process.

While we are not offered such a provision, it is possible to emulate this behavior with a few tools:

  1. Call divert/forwarding
  2. A dual-SIM phone

Details

In this scenario, we have Old Sim Card and New Sim Card. Let’s call Old Sim Card as CardOld and New Sim Card as CardNew.

Depending on your handset, there exists an option called call divert or call forward(ing). The trick here is to have cardOld set to divert or forward all calls to cardNew’s number. Once set, anyone who calls you on your old number will be transparently forwarded to your new number. This is where it works: those calling you on your old number need not do anything to reach you on your new number. That’s it for incoming calls.

For messages, all you have to do is to stick cardOld and cardNew together in a dual-sim handset. All messages you recieve will be consolidated into one messaging thread. The only thing that needs to be done is to set cardNew as the default SIM card. That’s all for incoming messages.

Limitations

Those were the steps to emulate number porting to a degree, and this is where our intervention ends. The limitation here is that any outgoing messages and calls you make will be from your new number. At the very least, you can notify those with whom you regularly correspond with to update their entries. For those with whom you have forgotten to notify, at least their calls or messages won’t be lost to you.

As for how long will you keep your old number, that is up to you. I have been keeping mine for around six months now and I plan to keep it for a little while longer.

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