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Number portability: 234,880 subscribers swap networks in 21 months

By on April 3, 2015

A total of 234, 880 telecoms subscribers ported to various networks since the introduction of Mobile Number Portability on the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network on April 22, 2013.

According to the statistics   recently released by  the  Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), from May 2013 to January 2015, 234,880 subscribers ported in 21 months across all GSM networks.

From the statistics, Etisalat Nigeria, the fourth entrant into the GSM market, has continued to maintain lead in the number of incoming porting subscribers since its inception.

Industry stakeholders said feat in maintaining a steady lead has  led to  the rapid growth in subscriber number on the Etisalat network.

Recent statistics released by the NCC showed that Etisalat has  over 21 million subscribers, ranking close to Airtel and Globacom that have recorded over 27 million and 28 million subscribers respectively on their networks.

The figures show that  Etisalat has maintained the highest number of incoming porting subscribers since the inception of Mobile Number Portability. The statistics revealed that Nigeria recorded the highest number of porting so far in  September 2014, totalling 19,682 subscribers that ported across all networks, with Etisalat alone recording 9,749 porting subscribers.

Airtel recorded  6,523, Globacom 2,112 and MTN 1,304.

The statistics also revealed that Nigeria had a total of 5, 759 porting subscribers in June, 2013, which is the least number ever recorded so far. Etisalat still maintained leading position of incoming porting subscribers, having recorded 2,897, followed by Globacom with 1,641 incoming porting subscribers. Airtel had 676 subscribers that ported to its network that month, while MTN followed behind with 545 incoming porting subscribers.

MNP, no doubt, has helped boost the number of telecoms subscribers across network, which currently stood at 140.8 million according to NCC’s latest release on subscriber statistics.

NCC had on April 22, 2013, launched MNP across all networks, designed to offer subscribers the opportunity to port their GSM numbers from one network to another, without losing their original numbers.

Excited by the initiative, over 4,000 subscribers ported within the first four days of its launch , and 7,164 subscribers ported to different networks within one month of the MNP launch.

However,  the excitement from subscribers later reduced in the subsequent month, which many attributed to the strings attached to MNP by the NCC.
One of such conditions  was that a subscriber must remain on a particular network for up to 90 days after the initial porting. The implication is that the subscriber will have to remain on a particular network for as much as 90 days after the initial porting, even when the network service quality is poor.

Although the conditions  initially slowed the rate of porting, as recorded in the month of June, 2013, as the total number of porting subscribers dropped to 5,759, as against 7,164 that was recorded in the month of May, 2013.

The number, however, increased in August 2014 to 13,560, with Etisalat still maintaining the lead position with 7,719. The total number of porting subscribers hit its peak in the month of September 2014, recording 19,682 incoming porting subscribers, and Etisalat also had the highest number among other telecoms operators. Although the total number of porting subscribers dropped slightly in the months of November and December 2014 to 14,094 and 11,168 respectively, the NCC’s latest release showed that the figure picked up again in the month of January 2015 to 12,494, with Etisalat having the highest number, which the NCC puts at 7,820, followed by Airtel with 2,342 incoming porting subscribers, while MTN had 1,186 subscribers that ported to its network in January 2015. Globacom had the least number of subscribers that ported to its network in the month of January 2015, with a record of 1,146.

Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs at Etisalat, Mr. Ibrahim Dikko, attributed the steady lead of Etisalat in MNP to the various number of innovative products it introduced into the market, which he said are customer friendly and have continued to attract more customers to the Etisalat network, while retaining its existing customers.