No Review of Number Portability –NCC


Executive vice chairman, ncc, eugene juwahContrary to the wish of some stakeholders, the Nigerian Communications Commission is not convinced about the need to review the existing framework of the Mobile Number Portability scheme.

Interconnect Clearinghouse Nigeria Limited, the firm in charge of the MNP scheme, had recommended to the NCC that some reviews were needed in order to make the scheme better.

The firm coordinates the movement of subscribers across networks under the porting arrangement and ensures the release of subscribers who want to port from a particular network, and their acceptance by the new operators.

Our correspondent gathered that the NCC was not convinced that the time had come to review the existing terms of the scheme because there had not been sufficient reasons to do so.

Confirming this, the Head, Media and Public Relations, NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, told our correspondent in a telephone interview on Wednesday that the commission had not seen enough reasons to commence the review of the MNP scheme.

“That some people are saying we need to review some conditions of the MNP does not mean the commission will automatically start reviewing the terms,” he said.

Muoka stressed that the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, had called on the operators to play by the rules of the scheme because that was what it needed to succeed.

He said subscribers were still porting across the networks, but did not disclose the volume of ported numbers.

The review of the scheme, according to some stakeholders, will address major areas of concern like the continuous crave by subscribers to buy new SIM cards instead of porting to a network of choice whenever the need arises; and the rise in the use of multiple SIM phones by subscribers, which is a major setback for the MNP scheme.

The NCC, through one of its top executives, had said in Lagos recently that the MNP scheme was not perfect and that emerging issues around the porting process were expected.

Some of the issues that have been brought to the fore include the fact that a subscriber must stay for 90 days on a particular network before he can migrate to another after the initial porting; the 48-hour processing period for porting; poor awareness, especially in the hinterlands; and the need for physical presence before a successful porting can be achieved.

Muoka, however, told our correspondent that the infrastructure on the ground currently would not permit the implementation of some of the proposals, adding that possible security issues were also being assessed in that regard.

The possibility of litigation by aggrieved subscribers and the operators as regards the workings of the MNP scheme also informed the meetings between the NCC and the Judiciary.

It is being alleged also that the MNP allows for loss of airtime and data by subscribers who successfully complete the porting process.

Some industry watchers say these developments could result in court cases between subscribers and their network operators; hence the need for a review of the grey areas in the scheme.

The Chief Operating Officer, Interconnect Clearinghouse Nigeria Limited, Mr. Uche Onwudiwe, admitted that there were some anomalies in the system, but added that the firm had recommended a review to the NCC.