A Scheme Still in Doubt


Mobile telephone subscribers are still in doubt about the workability of the recently launched Mobile Number Portability by the Nigerian Communications Commission

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Jun. 17, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

ONE month after the launch of Mobile Number Portability, MNP, by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, many Nigerians are still in  doubt about the process of porting. Investigations by Realnews have revealed that apart from poor education about how the process works, the processing periods, poor quality of services offered by the service providers discourage subscribes from porting.

Olasunkanmi Yusuf, a subscriber, said he has all the four networks on two dual SIM phones, stressing that porting will be an exercise in futility. “I have already ported because I can switch to any of them anytime, any day. But I think more awareness still needs to be created because many of us use dual SIM phones, so we may find it difficult to port,” he said.

Gbenga Adenekan, a subscriber, complained bitterly that he had announced his intention to port from its Airtel network to MTN, after visiting the outlet, but for more than one week, the process that was to take two days is yet to be completed. He urged the regulator to look into such cases.

Research has also revealed that only 3,000 lines had been ported across the four GSM networks so far. A visit to MTN service outlet in Lagos, revealed that subscribers are yet to really give the process the needed try. An official, who wishes anonymity, said that “people have not really embraced the process although some have come and done it. Others have expressed concern about the porting period, saying they cannot wait for two days or be tied to a network for 90 days before they could switch if the need arises.”

But Tony Ojobo, director, public affairs, NCC, said that the commission would apply sanction if any anti-competitive behaviour was established against any service operator on porting issues. He said no service provider should deny a subscriber porting to any network for whatever reason.

According to him, the MNP, regulations have clearly spelt out the responsibilities of the telecom operators, the MNP clearing house and the commission. The provisions in the regulation of MNP indicated that porting request to any network could not be denied except if a subscriber owed or had issues of false identity.

He explained that false registration is carried out when a person who makes a request for porting is not the person that was captured in the data base during the SIM registration. Ojobo added that a SIM that was not registered could be denied porting to any network. “We want Nigerians to be rest assured that all of these challenges will be dealt with; the commission will apply sanctions where there is need for us to do so. Where we find out that there is any anti-competition behaviour on the part of any network, there will be sanction because we have the provision in our Act to deal with anti-competitive behaviour. And also the MNP regulations have spelled out what the NCC should do in an event of any such behaviour. So we want the consumers to be patient. I am apologising for the initial challenges, but within a short time, I am sure all these will be a thing of the past,’’ Ojobo said.

Eugene Juwah, executive vice-chairman, NCC, also said that the MNP was introduced into the telecoms industry to create a healthy competition among the operators. He said at the end of the 73rd edition of the Telecoms Consumer Parliament held in Enugu, on June 1, that consumers of telecoms services were desirous of getting value for their money. He stated that it was the duty of the commission to protect them from abuse by service providers.

“Mobile Number Portability will provide consumers with the option of choosing their network at any time, while retaining their numbers. It will give rise to a healthy competition in the industry, enhance quality of service and improve service delivery to the consumers. It will provide consumers with unfettered choice and remove the trouble of having to move around with multiple cell phones. Mobile Number Portability will eliminate the associated cost of updating business contacts, marketing, notifying family members and associates,” he said.

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