Nigeria joins Ghana in mobile number portability after nearly two years

SIMNigeria yesterday April 22, 2013 officially launched its version of the mobile number protabillity (MNP) system, nearly two years after Ghana implemented the system.

With legal backing, Ghana started MNP July 7, 2011, which was believed to be another revolution in the country’s already dynamic telecoms industry.

MNP is a process that allows a mobile subscriber who for any reason chooses to change from the existing provider to a competitor to do so and still keep his or her favourite mobile number including the code.

Porting is a process that allows subscribers on network ‘A’ to move to network ‘B’ without having to be assigned a new number.

Nigeria’s Communications Technology Minister, Mrs. Omobola Johnson launched the Nigeria MNP in Lagos. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has indicated it will roll out several regulations to ensure that the porting system becomes very successful.

The Nigerian telecoms sector, with an active subscriber-base of 113 million, a teledensity of 81.7 per cent, a combined 226 million lines capacity and an investment of about $25 billion, is currently the fastest growing telecommunications sector in Africa, according to a report by the Nigerian Guardian.

The Nigerian telecoms market has four “big players” – MTN, Airtel, Globacom and Etisalat. Ghana has six mobile operators and they are MTN, Vodafone, Tigo, Airtel, Expresso and Glo with over 27 million mobile SIM subscribers.

With the start of the MNP in Nigeria, it is expected to make the telecoms sector in Africa’s most populous and oil-rich country more competitive, a situation which is not different in Ghana’s case.

In Ghana, the steps to porting are simple. A subscriber who wants to port would have to go to the recipient operator or provider that he or she wants to switch to with the phone. Subscriber must have a valid ID card to be able to initiate the process, because ownership of the phone would be verified, it is important that one uses the same ID card that one used to register the phone.

The recipient network would initiate all the necessary processes and a new SIM card would be provided to the subscriber, provided there are no valid reasons as outlined by the NCA for the donor network to reject the porting request.

The process comes at no cost to the subscriber but to the operator.

With Nigeria, the porting has also been made free for the subscribers but they can only switch networks once every 90 days, according to the NCC.

By Ekow Quandzie

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