Mobile Number Portability: Ghana set to go

Mobile phone subscribers in Ghana would soon sigh for relief as changing mobile phone networks without losing one’s number is becoming possible. Mobile Number Portability (MNP) will soon become a reality in Ghana.

Ghana is set to activate the system known as MNP by the middle of the year as the process of starting the system has fully been put in place and the mobile service providers are all on board, the National Communications Authority has said.

Officials of the National Communications Authority (NCA) told journalists in Accra Monday March 7, 2011 that with a large number of the country’s population using mobile phones, the time is ripe for the system to begin.  The NCA says it would launch the MNP system in July 2011.

According to statistics from the NCA about 75% of the country’s 23 million population uses mobile phones. The MNP, the NCA believes would bring about competition among mobile service providers and lead to improved services.

The total number of mobile phone subscribers in Ghana is over 17.4 million at December end 2010. It puts the figure specifically at 17, 436, 949 subscribers.

And there are six service providers licensed to do business in the country. Five are active and one is yet to start operations. The five active mobile providers are MTN, Tigo, Vidafone, Airtel and Expresso. The sixth operator yet to roll out services is Globacom.

The MNP is a system that allows a subscriber from one network who is dissatisfied with the services of the existing network provider to switch over to another service provider he or she thinks is offering a better service without losing his or her number.

The fear of losing or changing mobile phone numbers which have already been widely circulated to friends and associates had made subscribers stay with a mobile provider even when the service is poor. But with MNP, switching over to another network provider is made easier.

The system to be implemented in Ghana, according to Mr. Joshua K. Peprah, Director, Regulatory Administration at the NCA is “recipient network driven”. What this means, he says, is that the network that the subscriber is switching to is the one to initiate the move. “The subscriber only has to go to the recipient network, or the network he or she wants to switch to and the switch is initiated at that point.”

He said the donor network or the network provider the subscriber is switching from would only have to accept or reject with reasons.

According to the NCA there are only few reasons for rejecting a switch. These are: number not being active on the donor network – that is the network that a subscriber is moving away from. Fraud having been reported; phone reported stolen; not enough of the ID items matching with the request.

The port or request to switch to a different operator may not be rejected in the case of debt still owed to the donor network, according to the NCA.

It also says the donor network is obliged to refund any unused portion of deposit that the customer paid to it, after subtracting unpaid bills and usage that has not yet been billed, especially in the case of post-paid customers.

Prepaid subscribers however, would lose their credits if they switch to another provider before they have exhausted their calling credits, the NCA says.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

  1. Frederick Nyarko says

    It’s a good idea but how will we be doing the swapping?

  2. nze abessole michel narcisse says

    that is a very good idea .

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