former Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah

Emma Okonji

Among the 149.8 million recorded active telecoms subscribers across all networks in Nigeria as at June 2016, a total of 568,782 subscribers were said to have ported from one network to another, within a space of three years that Mobile Number Portability (MNP) was introduced in the country.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), had on April 22, 2013, introduced mobile number porting, which allows subscribers to migrate from one network to another in search of better service quality, while still retaining their original number, irrespective of the network the subscriber chooses to go.

Within 48 hours that MNP was launched in Lagos by the former Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, 4,000 subscribers ported from their original networks to alternative networks, in search of better service quality and customer care, and since then, the number has continued to increase.

As at June this year, a total of 547,662 subscribers ported to other networks since 2013 when the scheme was introduced, according to figures posted recently on the NCC’s website.

In the month of July, 2016, about 21,120 subscribers across Airtel, MTN, Etisalat and Globacom, ported to different networks, bringing the total number of subscribers that have ported in the last three years, to 568, 782.
The figures showed that for all incoming porting, which explains the migration of subscribers to another network, Etisalat recorded the highest number of incoming subscribers to its network, which NCC puts at 12,378 for the month of June, 2016 only, followed by Airtel, which had 5,527 new subscribers to its network. Globacom had 1,558 new subscribers that ported to its network, and the least was 1,341, which ported to the MTN network.

In the month of July 2016, Etisalat still maintained the lead position for the number of incoming subscribers that ported. Etisalat had 11,136; Airtel had 8,177; Globacom had 1,446; while MTN still maintained the least incoming porting at 361.

Pleased with introduction of number portability and the success it has recorded so far, the Director, Public Affairs NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo told THISDAY that the NCC has succeeded in putting powers in the hands of consumers to exercise their rights to move from one network to another at will, in search of better service quality and better customer care.

Ojobo listed the benefits of number porting to include the ability of subscribers to make informed choice of networks, ability to experience value added services from operators, ability to experience superior network quality, and the ability to experience increase competition among telecoms operators that will in turn boost better service delivery among other benefits.

Apart from its benefits, MNP comes with some attached strings, which include a period of 48 hours to complete porting exercise, strict adherence to the rule of not porting more than twice within 90 days, risk of losing all existing data on the old SIM card, including airtime while porting. The subscriber is expected to use up every airtime loaded into the old SIM card before porting, or lose every airtime, immediately porting is completed.