30 December 2012

Nigeria: NATCOMS Faults NCC Over Postponement of Number Portability

The President of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, has faulted the postponement of the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) project by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), describing the measure as an infringement on subscribers' rights.

Ogunbanjo argued that one of the eight rights of subscribers is the right to choose a mobile network service provider. He said MNP was to provide a platform for telecoms consumers to choose whichever network they wanted to use, while retaining their original network's numbers.

According to him, MNP will add a lot of value to businesses because a subscriber does not have to change his or her initial number if he or she is dissatisfied with that network.

"Mobile Number Portability will make operators to sit up because they will not want to lose their subscribers," he said.

The NATCOMS chief said the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had initially announced that the MNP would commence in the third quarter of 2012.

He said the regulatory body later shifted the scheduled date to the fourth quarter after which it again deferred it till the first quarter of 2013. "NCC must not shift the goalpost again because we don't like that postponement idea. "NCC should come up with the real time that MNP will commence," Ogunbanjo said.

Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Mr. Eugene Juwah, had on December 12 said the commission had just started plans to develop the regulatory, legal and technical framework for the implementation of MNP.

Juwah said the development was progressing with regular inputs from the industry through technical and regulatory working groups and the number portability clearing house. "With the focus being accorded the rollout of MNP in Nigeria and the status of the deployment of required MNP infrastructure across operators, the service is scheduled to be live in Q1 2013," he said.

Juwah said the postponement of the commencement date of MNP was to ensure that thorough technical and regulatory works were done before the kick-off of the project.

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