• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Good times await subscribers as number portability kicks off today


The highly awaited mobile number portability (MNP), which kicks off today after series of delay, will usher in a good number of innovative value added services (VAS) as telecommunications operators jostle to either lure new subscribers onto their respective networks or retain existing ones.

From today, holders of Nigeria’s over 114 million mobile phone lines can retain their phone numbers when changing from one operator to another. The scheme, according to the telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), expected to deepen competition in Nigeria’s highly competitive market and improve quality of service levels will also bring with it a new era of ‘customer centrism’ in the country’s telecoms market.

Speaking during a courtesy visit to BusinessDay corporate headquarters in Lagos on Friday, Tony Ojobo, director, public affairs of the NCC, said that mobile number portability will indirectly bring about an improvement in the quality of service levels.

“Telecoms operators have been making necessary investments to take-in additional subscribers while at the same time retaining their own. There are lots of dissatisfied customers who want to call the bluff of their current service providers. Operators will wake up and invest more in improving their customer contact centres so that they can address the issues telecoms subscribers have”, he said.

Ojobo further explained that number portability will encourage billing integrity as well as accountability on the part of telecoms networks to their consumers.

“Customers are going to be very sensitive to shoddy service. If some people think they are being short-changed they have the freedom to switch to another network. Another thing we will see happening is new service offerings in the area of VAS. Operators are going to be more innovative and offer services that differentiate them from other networks”, Ojobo said.

The telecoms regulator, however, envisages fierce competition in the industry as a result of the commencement of the scheme.

“Telecoms operators are not sleeping now. There is a lot of concern here. What will operators tell investors and shareholders if revenue drops? The subscriber base translates to traffic volume and that translates to revenue. So, if your subscriber base drops as a result of subscribers moving to other networks, it will affect traffic volume and that will definitely have an effect on revenue”, he stated.

He said the regulator sees number portability as a necessary regulatory intervention that would have a profound impact on the quality of service and competition.

The director, public affairs of the NCC, gave reasons for the delay in the commencement of the scheme, adding that the regulators wanted to guard against any loopholes in the final take off of the process.