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Etisalat, Airtel top MNP gainers’ chart

By ADEYEMI ADEPETUN
17 February 2015   |   11:00 pm
   . 149,139 subscribers seek new operators within a year DESPITE the low tempo that has greeted the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service lately, about 149,139 mobile subscribers in the country ported out of their respective networks between November 2013 and November 2014.     According to statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which…

 

GSM

 . 149,139 subscribers seek new operators within a year

DESPITE the low tempo that has greeted the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service lately, about 149,139 mobile subscribers in the country ported out of their respective networks between November 2013 and November 2014.

    According to statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which is the latest, Emerging Market Telecommunications Services (EMTS) operating as Etisalat in Nigeria and India’s telecommunications giant, Airtel were top gainers of subscribers within the period under review.

    Specifically, the quartet of MTN Nigeria, Airtel, Globacom and Etisalat gained about 153,173 subscribers, while they lost 149,193 customers.

    Further statistics showed that in terms of customers that ported into the new networks, Etisalat gained 67, 293 subscribers, followed by Airtel with 43, 626; Globacom had 29, 410 and MTN gained 12,844.

    In terms of subscribers who ported out of their networks, MTN recorded 69,909; Globacom had 31, 871; Airtel lost 25,400 and Etisalat lost 21, 959 customers within the period under review.

    But despite the porting activities, MTN still control the largest share of Nigeria’s GSM market with 44 per cent and 59, 046, 669 subscribers. Globacom is second with 21 per cent market share and 27, 591,967 customers. Airtel, after several rebrandings controls 20 per cent of the market and maintains 26, 836, 050 subscribers.

     Mobile Number Portability will be two years in Nigeria by April 22. It was launched by the NCC. At the launch in 2013 in Lagos, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC said that the Nigerian subscribers have been handed the power to hire and fire their service providers depending on what kind of services they are rendering.

   He however, admitted that the regime would bring a Win-Win situation in the Nigerian telecommunications industry. The Picture Juwah painted was that with the regime, the NCC would have time to focus on regulation and forget about quality of service because the system has a survival instinct.

    The NCC EVC noted that the most important reasons for introducing MNP were: “providing choices for the subscribers in the face of unsatisfactory experience they are having on their current network and secondly, keeping operators on their toes towards improving service delivery, since by not improving its network, an operator stands the chance of losing its subscribers to other networks with better quality of service.”

    But to industry observers, the multi SIMming nature of the country’s telecommunications sector continued to dwarf the projected impact the initiative came with, as most Nigerians already owned virtually all the networks, so the idea of switching from network A to B was already on ground before the 2013 launch majorly because of the poor service quality associated with the networks.

    In an interview, the President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) Lanre Ajayi, said porting was not working because of the multi-SIMming culture in Nigeria that makes it so easy for people to just switch over to another line.

    Ajayi said, “We already have that culture of two, three or more phones and that makes it so easy for people to just switch over to another line on any of their SIM cards, so why then will they port.”

   Also, in a recent interview, the Public Affairs Director, NCC, Dr. Tony Ojobo, said, “The MNP is not compulsory for subscribers. If a subscriber sees a need for it, he or she may switch from his or her current network to another and if not, he or she remains on its current network.

   “So, you don’t expect a surge in MNP uptake since it is based on the decision of the subscribers to either port or stay. Yet, I believe we are having impressive uptake, coming mostly from individuals who have seen a need to migrate.”

    NCC described MNP as very useful for telecoms consumers in a country such as Nigeria, where the networks are not robust yet, even as telecoms operators continue to work with the Interconnect Clearing House, for more flexible ways to make migration from one network to another less time-consuming.

   Indeed, results from a survey showed that not many subscribers seem conscious of the beauty of MNP, but telecoms operators said they continued to create awareness on the huge benefits and mouth-watering incentives for subscribers who migrate to their networks.

   Speaking at an MNP forum organised by Etisalat recently, Chief Executive Officer of the telecoms company, Matthew Willsher, said “MNP is now very flexible because migration now takes few hours as against maximum of three days we started with at its launch.”

   Wilsher claimed that the network was attracting high-profile individuals in the country.