10 January 2013

Nigeria: Telcos Raise Subscribers Hopes On Number Portability

Allaying fears over the perceived inability of telecoms operators to commence the implementation of number portability before the end of the first quarter of this year, the operators have made bold to say they are ready.

Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, told THISDAY that the operators would commence the operation, insofar as there are no unforeseen circumstances that could hinder its implementation.

He listed such unforeseen circumstances to include further attacks on telecoms facilities, regulatory issues and deteriorating telecoms services that could be caused by environmental factors.

"Yes we are ready to commence number portability in the next two months, our networks are ready, and all we need do is to do the test run to ascertain the state of readiness of the network, and once that is confirmed, then we are ready for rollout," Adebayo said.

According to him, "there are legal issues, commercial issues and technical issues that must be addressed, and all these are currently being looked into to enable the smooth implementation of the process."

He said: "Once it is implemented, there will be no going back hence we must ensure that everything is in order before the commencement."

Although Adebayo was optimistic that operators were ready, Mrs. Susan Ojo, a subscriber to virtually all networks, thinks contrary.

She said she was doubtful that number portability would take off within the first quarter of the year, which is just around the corner.

"What makes operators think they can commence number portability with the unresolved challenges they are facing resulting in poor service quality?

"The essence of number portability is to port from one network to another in search of better service quality, but the situation we have at hand currently, is that virtually all the networks have the same challenges with service quality, so it will be useless to migrate from one network to another, when all the networks are having the same challenge of poor service quality," Ojo said.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had planned to commence the implementation of number portability last month, but later realised that the operators were not ready.

Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Tony Ojobo, who reiterated the commission's commitment to commencing number portability before the end of the first quarter of the year, told THISDAY that the process would spur competition among telecoms operators.

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