19 February 2013

Nigeria: NCC Lists Stringent Conditions for Mobile Number Portability

According to the draft policy for Mobile Number Portability Regulations 2013 which is awaiting public response before March 4, 2013, any subscriber who applies for mobile number portability system would be required to swap his subscriber identification module (SIM) card from the old (donor) mobile operator to a new (recipient) operator.

This condition, among others, in the guideline makes it stringent for the process to be completed by any subscriber willing to port his mobile phone line to another network. According to the commission, a porting process will be initiated by a customer request with a physical visit to a recipient operator via one of its points of sales such as high street store, corporate sales team, or authorised dealer.

NCC also disclosed in the draft that only real-time porting of numbers will be allowed and deferred or delayed porting of numbers will not be permitted under the porting regime. However, the recipient operator is required to inform the customer of his/her obligations to request porting and the implications of porting their number, as defined and described by the centrally agreed MNP code of conduct.

As part of the standard explanation of its service terms and conditions, the recipient operator shall ensure that the customer is aware that once a porting transaction has been authorised by the customer sending the validation SMS to the specified MNP number, the porting request cannot be cancelled and must progress to completion.

According to the regulator, if it is a post-paid customer, outstanding contract terms will be claimed by the donor. In the case of a prepaid customer, any outstanding credit will be forfeited on a 'use-or-lose-it' basis. The recipient operator will have to inform the customer of the industry's agreed port activation lead times and agree with him/her on the actual porting time and date applicable to the particular order type (simple or complex/ multiple).

The customer signs the approved porting request form as the legal instrument appointing the recipient operator as its to close their account with the donor operator. The customer is requested to text the word "port" to a short code number from their existing account even if there is no credit left on a pre-paid phone. The SMS is sent to the central order handling system by the SMSC of the donor operator using the SMPP protocol over the Internet.

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