Telecoms subscribers excited as number portability begins today……Punch

Telecoms subscribers in the country have expressed excitement at the dawn of a new era as Mobile Number Portability commences today.

MNP allows mobile subscribers to move from one network to another without changing their numbers.

Having patiently waited for it for years, some of the subscribers, who spoke with our correspondents on Sunday, said it would mark a new era in telecoms service offerings in the country.

The Chief Executive Officer, Royale Prestige Properties, Mr. Seun Akinyele, said it was a welcome idea, adding that he would not have to be helplessly locked onto any network just for the fear of losing the number that had been identified with him.

Akinyele said, “MNP is the next thing we need as subscribers. I have not been enjoying services from one of the mobile networks in the country but I can’t change my number because of the implication for my business.

“With MNP, I will not hesitate to dump any network for poor quality of service so far I can retain my number.”

A businesswoman, Mrs. Mosun Oluwadare, who trained as a computer scientist, said MNP was long overdue, while expressing optimism that mobile subscribers would be the best for it.

“Poor quality of service has been a major setback for the telecoms sector. Consumers are rarely satisfied with services they get from their service providers without compensation. But with mobile number portability, Nigerian subscribers can truly enjoy freedom,” she said.

Ms. Debra Francis, a student, said it was a welcome idea but lamented that majority of rural subscribers lacked basic knowledge of the concept.

Francis said she heard about MNP for the first time last year and urged the Nigerian Communications Commission to increase it public enlightenment efforts for more subscribers to benefit from MNP.

A banker, Mr. Tunde Okoya, said MNP would put smiles on the faces of mobile subscribers in the country.

“Telecoms operators will have to fight harder to retain their customers,” he stressed.

Mr. Akeem Oluwalogbum, an applicant, said MNP would add value to subscribers experience in the country.

“Sometime, you will call the customer care lines of some of the GSM companies and nobody will pick. MNP will restore the Nigerian telecoms subscribers as the true kings as they will have the power to move from a network that is not delivering to a better one,” he said.

The President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, said, “Though MNP is long overdue, it is a welcome idea. It will put operators on the alert as far as quality of service is concerned. The beautiful thing is that network operators are supporting it.”

Ajayi, who spoke with one of our correspondents on Sunday, expressed optimism that MNP would be successful.

The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, who spoke in the capacity of a subscriber, said, “We hope that it will improve our options in that it will offer subscribers the freedom to move from one network to another in order to enjoy quality service.

“However, I hope that when subscribers move from network A to network B, they will not be disappointed with the quality of service.”

The NCC had further stressed the role of telecoms subscribers in the mobile number portability scheme, saying the success was dependent on how well the subscribers played their role.

Already, the NCC and telecoms operators as well as the MNP service provider have confirmed their readiness for the scheme, while there has been excitement stemming from what it can do.

Expectedly, the service would give telecoms consumers the freedom of choice, redefining competition and allowing subscribers the opportunity to use only one phone and operate on the platform of their choice, the NCC said in a statement on Friday.

It said the service would also impose cutting-edge responsibility on the operators, who would now ensure their quality of service was good enough to retain the confidence of subscribers.

The regulator admitted that the programme was just beginning and would not provide the ‘magic wand’ to addressing all the problems of the industry immediately.

“While it is envisaged that technical glitches may be expected within the first few days of the service launch, subscribers should visit the NCC website for detailed information on MNP,” it added.

The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, called on the subscribers to discharge certain responsibilities.

He said, “The following are very important: As a subscriber, you can port to another operator. However, you will be restricted from porting your number to a third operator within 90 days of a previous port; you can port your number as many times as you like in a given year. This means there is a 90-day restriction before your next port.

“To move your number to a new mobile operator, you need to bring the following into the new operator’s stores: Proof of identity is important. It is an identity card, passport or driving licence or an officially-validated photographic identity document. Also, the mobile number you wish to port must be validly registered.”

He also gave tips on where a subscriber could go to port his or her number.

According to him, customers should go to the customer care offices, retail shops or outlets of their chosen new service provider and meet with authorised sales persons to request to port their numbers.

The NCC boss also informed the subscribers that porting could only be undertaken after visiting the customer care office, retail shop or authorised dealer of the new service provider and was not available by telephone, online or other electronic means.

While urging the subscribers not to terminate service with their existing providers before initiating porting with the new service provider, the regulator said it was obligatory for the customer to visit a service centre or the number would not get ported.

Juwah said both post-paid and pre-paid customers would be able to port their numbers. “However, once the porting process is complete, post-paid customers are required to settle their outstanding bills to their previous service provider, including any early termination fees,” he added.

Juwah also intimated that the old service provider was permitted to use legal means to recover outstanding charges from a subscriber, noting that though porting was free, a new operator might decide to charge for the sim card

JD:At last the consumer is gradually becoming king.with this move and a ban on promotions,the telecom companies will now have to keep their customers with quality service and lower rates.

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