THE Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has set April 22 for the launch of the much-awaited Mobile Number Portability (MNP) in Lagos. Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr Tony Ojobo, who, said the delays in the launch of the scheme was as a result of the need to tighten loose ends so that once it is launched, there will be no hiccups.
The regulator recently outlined roles expected of stakeholders, particularly telecoms subscribers to make the scheme successful. According to the NCC, while service providers and the regulator are getting set to roll out the service, certain important roles were expected from the subscribers using the over 113 million active telephone lines in the country who may want to port their numbers.
Also, Interconnect Clearing House, the company appointed by NCC to create a unified interface billing system, is rounding off the process of bringing the various GSM networks on the MNP platform.
MNP is expected to address many of the ills in the industry, particularly that of poor Quality of Service (QoS). MNP will allow subscribers to change operators without changing numbers. The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, recently assured of the readiness of the government to kick off the MNP service.
“We are going ahead with Mobile Number Portability, because it is going to give subscribers lots of choice and freedom. MNP will bring new dimension to the competition in the industry.
All network operators will have to work harder to earn the trust of subscribers, because they will now have choices. “MNP will definitely give consumers varieties of choice but the major issue is for us to improve on our infrastructure and improve services, so that we don’t have to be moving from network to network,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NC, Eugene Juwah has said MNP will lead to tariff decrease. Juwah who was represented by the commission’s new media director, Dr Sylvanus Ehihioya spoke yesterday at the 72nd edition of Telecoms Consumer Parliament, held at Jogor Event Centre, Ibadan.
Juwah assured consumers that the commission will ensure that the tariffs platforms on all networks is transparent and will continue to emphasize that Quality of Index of all networks be published through the media at regular intervals for subscribers’ guide.
The NCC boss said that when the MNP is implemented, it will also give subscribers the options of changing service providers who offer poor services at will while retaining their mobile numbers.
“MNP will definitely give consumer varieties of choice but the major issue is for us to improve on our infrastructure and improve services so that we don’t have to be moving from network to network.
“For the successful implementation of this initiative, the commission has developed comprehensive porting guidelines and engaged Number Portability Clearing House managed by a reputable and neutral operator which would act as a centralised databased and a unified billing system interface” he said According to Juwah, he said MNP will also cut down the carrying of many handsets by subscribers for fear of network failure, as they have the option to migrate to the best network of quality.
He noted that part of the major prerequisities for a number to be ported is to be registered in the SIM registration databased, while urging all telecoms subscribers to register their SIM Cards in other to benefit from the proposed service.