• Monday, May 20, 2024
businessday logo


Etisalat, Airtel emerge biggest gainers of number porting scheme


The Nigerian affiliate of Etisalat, the Gulf’s biggest telecommunications operator, and India’s Bharti Airtel, have emerged the biggest beneficiaries of the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) scheme introduced by the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) last year to address the issue of poor Quality of Service (QoS) by telcos, according to data by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The introduction of the scheme allows holders of Nigeria’s over 130 million active mobile lines to retain their phone numbers when changing from one operator to another due to poor services without losing their numbers. The scheme, which has deepened competition in Nigeria’s telecoms industry as mobile operators jostle to woo new subscribers whilst retaining existing ones showed on the Commission’s website that Airtel Nigeria was the major gainers as it received a total of 62,107 port-ins as against 34,509 port-outs, amounting to a net gain of 27,598 new subscribers from June 2013 to June 2014.

Porting activities on the Etisalat network however remained very strong, as the latest entrant into the sector, received a net gain of 25,695 new subscribers from the number porting for the period under review. Specifically, a total of 41, 480 port-ins were received on the network, but 15,785 subscribers ported out from the mobile network.

However, South Africa’s MTN Nigeria was the worst hit by number porting scheme, as a total number of 51,492 subscribers left the network, in contrast to only 9,720 port ins. National carrier, Globacom, on the other hand witnessed only 24,071 telecommunications subscribers ported out of the network in the twelve-month period, while 27,077 subscribers ported-in. Industry analysts are of the view that MNP still appears to be dull in terms of uptake of the service.

“The multi-SIM nature of the country is impacting on the process greatly, but I can stress that there has been huge explosion in porting in Nigeria. “Porting has become very easy now and this is good for customers,” said Matthew Wilsher, chief executive officer, Etisalat Nigeria.

The CEO however commended the NCC for introducing the scheme, further adding that the process had given subscribers freedom of choice.  Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said, in an interview, that telcos are being put under pressure by MNP to invest in network upgrade, which seems to be one of fall-outs of the MNP introduction. In view of this, national operator, Globacom embarked on a massive network expansion and technical network upgrade project which has significantly enhanced the quality of customer experience on the network. The expansion project involved network upgrade and overhaul of infrastructure across the country, as well as expansion and densification projects that will on completion cater for its existing and potential subscribers. The move has paid off as Globacom has become the second biggest mobile network operator (MNO) in Nigeria.

“Appropriately targeted capital expenditure leads to improved network performance”, said Johan Haeger, head of tactical marketing, business unit networks at Ericsson.

This, he further added translates into better market performance which is shown to boost financial returns. The latest subscriber statistics from the NCC put Globacom second after MTN Nigeria and ahead of Airtel and Etisalat. The statistics from NCC showed that Globacom now controls 21 per cent of Nigeria’s mobile market.

The firm, owned by Nigeria’s oil magnate, Mike Adenuga Jr, with the 21 per cent, now has 27.34 million subscribers.

Airtel, which was Nigeria’s second largest MNO about 10 months ago, is now third with 20 per cent market share and 25.3 million subscribers. MTN Nigeria remained the largest MNO in Nigeria with 44 per cent market share and over 56 million subscribers. Etisalat with about five years of operations in the country controls 15 per cent of the market and has 19.4 million subscribers.

Ben Uzor