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GSM number portability finally takes off

By on April 22, 2013

THE Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) number portability, an operation which allows GSM subscribers to migrate from one network to another without changing their old number takes off today.

Work on the portability dates back a year when the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) directed telecommunication companies to begin work on the project.

The migration, which will be at no cost to the subscriber, would eventually be extended to telecommunications subscribers on CDMA and fixed lines.

NCC had last year, released guidelines for the planned introduction of number portability across networks.

The guidelines exempt subscribers from paying any fee that may be charged by telecoms operators, when they asked for number porting from one network to another.

According to the guidelines released on the website of the NCC, “a service provider is responsible for maintaining appropriate records to satisfy the billing and audit requirements of Mobile Number Portability (MNP).”

“Services and traffic terminated to ported numbers on an individual recipient operator’s network must be charged the same as for traffic and services terminated to non-ported numbers of the same recipient operator. Neither recipient operators nor donor operators may make a charge to the customer for porting their numbers.”

NCC maintains that exercise would “guarantee freedom of choice for subscribers, redefine competition in the industry and allow subscribers to use only one phone while operating on the platform of their choice.”

Also, porting could only be undertaken by visiting the customer service offices or outlets, as the exercise would not be available through telephone, online or other electronic means.

Subscribers are equally advised against terminating their services with their existing service providers before initiating porting with new service providers.

While, according to NCC, there is a 90-day restriction for a porting before another one, subscribers to new service providers are mandated to bring identification cards, passports, driving licences or an officially validated photographic identity document and the working mobile numbers they wish to port into their new operators’ stores.

Analysts say the development would improve network services as service providers will now compete more to satisfy the subscribers.