Ahead of the official commencement of the much-anticipated Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has listed roles expected of stakeholders, particularly telecoms subscribers towards making the scheme successful.
The Commission said while service providers and the regulator are getting set to roll out the service, certain important roles are expected from the subscribers using the over 113 million active telephone lines in the country who may want to port their numbers.
The Interconnect Clearing House, which has been appointed by the NCC to create a unified interface billing system, is rounding off exercise by bringing service providers networks on the mobile number portability platform.
Mobile Number Portability is expected to address many of the ills in the industry, particularly that of poor Quality of Service (QoS).
The service will allow subscribers to change operators without changing numbers.
Already, the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, recently assured of the readiness of the government to flag off the MNP service soon.
“We are going ahead with Mobile Number Portability, because it is going to give subscribers lots of choice and freedom. MNP will bring new dimension to the competition in the industry. All network operators will have to work harder to earn the trust of subscribers, because they will now have choices.
”MNP will definitely give consumers varieties of choice but the major issue is for us to improve on our infrastructure and improve services, so that we don’t have to be moving from network to network,” she added. Also explaining how telecoms subscribers will benefit from the scheme, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, said that when a phone user feels that another operator can offer him a better service than his current operator, mobile number portability will allow him to move and enjoy the coverage, quality or tariff of the new operator while retaining his old number.
Juwah said with number portability the operator can change but your number will be the same, noting that there are roles to be played by the subscriber which will make the process effective and successful, especially in validating the SIM Card Registration process.
“The number to be ported must be a SIM registered with the user’s current operator. The subscriber must physically visit the retail store/customer outlet of the new operator.
“A photo identification card must be presented to the new operator. This means, therefore, that there will be no proxy porting process. Also, a porting will be completed within 48 hours from the port request,” he added.
According to Juwah, Mobile Number Portability is a simple process and will be free; and for the porting process not to be subject to abuse and arbitrariness there will be porting windows, that is, the time within which an already ported number can be ported again.
“So, stakeholders will have to play their relevant roles for the process to work instead of waiting for the regulator to wave a magic wand to right everything, stressing that MNP is a significant process that the regulator is embarking on at this time after all necessary documentation and will be guided to successful implementation,” he said.
President, Association of telecoms Companies for Nigeria, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, had recently called on the NCC to ensure that all necessary measures were put in place before launching the service to avoid possible network problem.
Already, the Commission had released the guideline detailing the rules and regulations for implementing an MNP service in Nigeria.