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187, 171 subscribers ported in 2020 as NCC announces new rules

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Telecommunications operators in Nigeria received some 182,994 subscribers, who ported into their networks in 2020. Interestingly, some 187,171 customers also left MTN, Airtel, Globacom and 9mobile. This was done through the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) scheme.

The December 2020 Subscribers Statistics, which completed the data for last year from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) confirmed these figures.

MNP, which actually started in Nigeria on April 22, 2013, is in its seventh year and experts believed that the success of the initiative has not really been that pronounced, but could be better.

In technical parlance, MNP is a process that allows subscribers to migrate from one network to another, in search of quality service, while still retaining their original phone numbers, irrespective of the network the subscriber chooses to migrate to.

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Checks by The Guardian showed that South African telecommunications firm, MTN welcomed some 37,027 customers from others networks to its network. Within the same period, 9mobile received 74,134 telephone users; Airtel added 67,927 subscribers, while Globacom recorded 3,870 customers.

In terms of customers that exited their networks for another with the hope of finding succor in other service providers, 9mobile lost 28,372 customers; Globacom 55,322; Airtel 67,596 and MTN 35,881 subscribers.

Compared to 2019, the operators had received 139,022 customers and lost 121,154 through the number porting process.
Market Analysts said MNP is still crawling in Nigeria, adding that going by the large number of subscribers in the country, the figure should have been higher.

To them, MNP wobbles between 0.55 per cent and 1.5 per cent, compared to Ghana and South Africa that have recorded over seven per cent and six per cent within three years and seven years of operating MNP respectively.

Analysts often point to the fact that GSM operators in Nigeria offer fairly the same quality of service, “So it may be difficult for subscribers to want to switch. Service disruptions are recorded across all networks and none is immune to drop calls.”

According to them, the multi-Simming nature of Nigeria is another major factor confronting MNP acceptability among subscribers, “virtually everybody in the country uses two or three SIMs to make calls.”

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MEANWHILE, the NCC in a document titled ‘Nigeria Mobile Number Portability: Business rules and port order processes’, released earlier in the week, stated that mobile operators will henceforth pay a porting transaction fee of N450 on each subscriber than they receive from another network.

According to the commission, the only porting transaction charges permitted under the Nigeria MNP Business Rules would be the charge levied by the Number Portability Clearinghouse Administrator on the respective recipient operator for each successfully completed porting transaction.

The telecoms regulator explained that neither the recipient nor donor operator would be allowed or entitled to charge customers for requesting to use the porting service or for porting their number but added that it was at the discretion of the operator to charge a customer for the SIM card.

The commission said, “The porting transaction fee charged by the NPC Administrator for each successful port shall be N450 and may at the NCC’s sole discretion be varied from time to time, after consultation with the industry.

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“The NPC Administrator shall not charge a fee for processing emergency repatriation porting transactions,” the document reads.

Further, NCC said the NPC Administrator will issue invoices on a monthly basis to each recipient operator, with such invoices detailing the volume/ number of successful porting transactions completed for each mobile service provider within the billing period, multiplied by the NCC approved porting transaction fee. All mobile service providers will pay/ settle the NPC Administrator’s invoices in a timely manner within the timescales and using the process defined in the commercial contract between the NPC Administrator and the Nigerian mobile service providers.

The Commission said where a customer suffers a disruption to their mobile service, and it is unclear in which network the problem lies, the mobile service providers will cooperate in good faith to locate and resolve the problem.

‘Complaints specifically related to the porting process should be directed to, and be dealt with by the recipient operator who has submitted the porting transaction to the NPC, following its normal internal processes. Otherwise, non-porting process related complaints that relate to the provision of services to the customer should be referred to the party that is providing the contracted service that is the subject of the customer’s complaint,” NCC stressed.

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