Stories by Olabisi Olaleye
On April 22, Mobile Number Portability (MNP), will be three years old after its epic launch in Lagos that ushered in the most creative lyrics: ‘I don port o’. OLABISI OLALEYE in this write-up x-rays the gainers and losers of porting as well as the impact on Nigerians.
Three years down the line, mobile number portability (MNP), tried to change the face of telecommunications via subscribers migration to other networks and allowing telecom operators to be at alert. However, to whom much is given, much is expected. In spite of the documented gainers and losers in MNP, Nigerians still believe that there is still more to do in the area of quality of service (QoS), and uninterrupted data.
While applauding the telecoms regulator for its steadfastness, Nigerian subscribers appeal for better service delivery while saying that they may still port to other newer networks since they are yet to be satisfied with the current services handed down by telecoms operators.
MNP enables mobile telephone users to retain their mobile telephone numbers when changing from one mobile network operator to another.
However, the reality on ground negates that of the data recently released by the telecoms umpire, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), on its website.
According to industry critics, the idea of porting is to increase efficiency and competition but most of these operators still do business as usual with Qos still struggling to be better and many telcos are striving to meet up with key performance indicator (KPI).
Already, the industry statistics for February 2015 to January 2016 revealed that subscribers who ported out of MTN Nigeria and Airtel were higher, given the data as 8,430 (January 2016),10,739 (Dec. 2015), 10,073 (Nov. 2015), 11,414 (Oct. 2015) and 3,409 (May 2013) as against Airtel Nigeria 4,396 (Jan.), 3,188 (Dec.), 3,086 (Nov.), 3,056 (Oct.) and 1,190 (May 2013), respectively.
Although subscribers who ported out of Globacom and Etisalat Nigeria were not many, going by NCC’s statistics. Etisalat recorded 976 (Jan.), 1,739 (Dec. 2015), 1,431 (Nov.), 1,241 (Oct.) and 768 (May), while Globacom also recorded 1, 065 (Jan.), 2,092 (Dec.), 2,377 (Nov.),1,703 (Oct.) and 1,646 (May 2015), respectively.
The beauty of MNP is to bring new dimension to the competition in the industry. And in a gregarious way, all network operators will have to work harder to earn the trust of subscribers, because they will now have choices.
A subscriber, Opeyemi Mafe says, “MNP will definitely give consumers varieties of choice but the major issue is for them to improve their infrastructure and improve services, so that subscribers don’t have to be moving from network to network.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NCC, Eugene Juwah assured that MNP will lead to tariff decrease and that the commission will ensure that the tariffs platforms on all networks is transparent.
Also commenting, NCC Director of Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, said number porting had deepened competition so far and given subscribers a choice to switch networks without losing their unique numbers, which he cited as one of the gains of the commercial roll out of GSM.
Ojobo said in 2013 that within the first month after the April launch of number porting, among an overall number of subscribers that switched service providers in the telecoms market, MTN topped the losers table when it recorded a 49 per cent switch to other networks.
However today, MTN may not have gained much incoming subscribers with 450(Jan, 2016), 436 (Dec 2015), 735(Nov), 1,068 (Oct), and 711(May 2013) as against Etisalat 6,329(Jan), 12,384(Dec), 12,346(Nov), 11,231(Oct), and 3,149 for the month of May in 2013.
While Airtel has 5,280(Jan), 2,885(Dec), 3,445(Nov), 3,074 (Oct) and 2,095 (May), as against Globacom of 2,589(Jan), 2,037 (Dec), 1,735 (Nov), 979(Oct) and 1,209(May).
Some subscribers who spoke to Daily Sun said that Etisalat seems to have improved on its network unlike others but though needs to improve on its data, which fluctuates in some areas.
Ronnie Ibinabo noted that there is no network that is absolutely perfect but the ability to manage the surge and keep up with challenges determines the best network.
“For now, NCC’s statistics says Etisalat network is best considering the incoming subscribers through porting. But it doesn’t keep up that trend, it may still lose to newer networks like Smile and Ntel”.
For Aniete Udom, he disclosed that no network is perfect but being able to manage their subscribers will boost efficiency, saying, “They all need to change and stop sending arbitral messages and unnecessary deductions.NCC has given it to Etisalat,we are still watching. Other subscribers are willing to port to other newer networks as long as they can be given better services”.