What is MNP? Mobile Number Portability is the process that enables mobile phone users to retain their mobile numbers when changing from one network operator to another. It however does not cover FNP which is Fixed Number Portability or any other form of number or service portability.
The NCC has rolled out a document containing guidelines for implementing the Mobile Number Portability and the exercise is slated to take off before the year runs out as mobile phone companies have been directed to provide Mobile Number Portability (MNP) services.
The document entitled Nigeria Mobile Number Portability- business rules and port order process gives details of the business rules that will guide the processes for porting mobile numbers between mobile service providers, NCC and subscribers licensed by the commission to provide mobile telecommunications service in the country.
These rules are to guide against abuse and distortion of network by subscribers who might like to switch more frequently than required as well as the service providers. NCC intends to engage the services of an independent company to oversee the process. A consortium of three firms have won the bid to operate, they are Interconnect Clearing House Nigeria, Telecordia of USA and Saab Grintek of South Africa.
The GSM technology which was launched in 2001 has grown in terms of revenue and subscriber numbers. Nigeria is now the leading mobile market in Africa. The telecoms sector has its own share of issues with poor quality of services provided though the successful deregulation of the telecoms industry had subscription which initially in 2001 was 400,000 has seen it grow to about 96.6 million active subscriptions, it has not helped in improving the services provided.
Statistics revealed as that Dec 2011, MTN had over 41 million subscribers, GLO had almost 20 million, Airtel with slightly over 16 million and Etisalat with a little over 10 million. The issue of MNP may help foster competition in the marketplace thus boosting innovation and creativity, improving and building strong brand loyalty. MNP has recorded success in Asia with countries like Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong implementing it successfully.
Besides the issues of innovation, creativity and improved services, this service may aid with the cumbersomeness of lunging two or three mobile phones around and may decrease the demand for dual and tri sim phones. But in the end, it is not about the framework but more about the implementation. we can all recall the lapses in the SIM registration process. we hope the process will be handles better and implemented successfully.