Number portability: Telecoms’ subscribers not too keen

A cross section of telecoms subscribers in Nigeria are showing little interest in experimenting the Mobile Number Portability that was launched by the Nigerian Communications Commission last week.

Daily Trust yesterday went on the streets of Abuja and sampled people’s opinion on the new policy but a large number of them said they are not too keen about ‘porting’.
They said the four major GSM telecoms operators have their strength and weakness and so there is no pointing jumping from one of them to the other.
The NCC has clarified that it has not mandated Nigeria’s teeming mobile subscribers to switch from their network providers.
An Abuja based journalist, Nkechi Isaac said she has all the big four GSM operators’ lines and most people already knew her with them, hence there is no need for any ‘porting’.
In addition to that, she said the almost-cumbersome process of ‘porting’ would make many people to stay on the network they are.
“Did you not see when they said people should register their SIM how they were reluctant to do so because they thought it was time wasting? That was SIM registration which NCC said was compulsory, what about MNP which is optional? I think most people would not be interested,” she said.
Another telecoms subscriber, Abdullahi Owolabi, an engineer, told Daily Trust on phone that for now he has no need to go for ‘porting’ because, according to him, all the operators offer almost similar quality of service.
Collins Onuegbu posted in his Facebook, “Its good that the option is there. But do I really want to move?”
Referring to an ad by one of the operators, a journalist, Rotimi Durojaiye also said in his Facebook post: “It is only Saka that port o.”
To Ayotola Jagun, porting does not have any significance because all of the operators are the same. “What is the point? They are all as bad as each other,” he said.
But a telecoms right activist, Deolu Ogunbanjo disagreed.
Mr. Ogunbanjo, who is the President of National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS) told Daily Trust on phone that although quality of service being offered by all the operators is relatively the same, there is still need for subscribers to change networks without losing their known numbers “so that a losing operator would sit up.”
He said Mobile Number Portability would surely improve quality of service in the telecoms sector, adding that operators would no longer take subscribers for granted.
The NATCOMS president said so far 10 of his members have ‘ported’.
Spokesmen of two of the GSM operators did not reply to enquiries sent to them yesterday on the number of subscribers they have so far ‘ported’ into their networks.
MTN’s spokesperson, Mrs. Funmi Omogbenigun said anywhere MNP is practiced, requests to port both in and out of each network will always take place.
“At MTN, our focus is to ensure a qualitative customer experience at the point of porting. Indeed, MTN is technically prepared for MNP and we have been able to draw on the experience of some of our MTN affiliates in other countries that are already practicing MNP,” she said.
Airtel spokesman, Emeka Oparah said he would get back to our reporter but never did as at press time.
But the company’s Managing Director, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, told reporters in Abuja last week that an Airtel Express shop in Abuja had “done port requests for two highly placed subscribers who jettisoned their old operators for Airtel.”
He said apart from the two, he had personally done ‘porting’ for some other big executives of companies and government officials in Lagos on Monday just after the MNP launch……….Daily Trust