Due to poor quality of service and lofty expenses, Nigeria mobile phone subscribers over the years have had no choice but to subscribe to multiple telecom services at a time. This, however, is about to change as mobile number portability – or the ability for a customer to transfer a number from one network operator or service provider to another -- is looking to make landfall in the country soon.
While porting, or the process of moving customer numbers between service providers, is easier said than done, the introduction of mobile number portability to a country like Nigeria – which happens to be the largest telecommunications market in Africa – is expected to have a positive impact, especially by way of cultivating the market and boosting quality of service.
According to Steven Evans, CEO of Etisalat (News - Alert) Nigeria, there really are no substantial challenges that should hinder mobile number portability from being implemented in Nigeria. In fact, the benefits completely outweigh any possibility of a negative impact on mobile network operators, thanks to the modern technologies available today. Moreover, the existence of mobile number portability grants opportunities to both subscriber – who can now switch to another network without purchasing a second (or third) SIM – and service provider, which will soon find itself in a revived telecom sector, due to sustained competition.
Evans goes on to say that more competition in the mobile marketplace will certainly cause dwindling profit margins, but will further force service providers to think on their feet, or in other words, come to market with new and differentiated services. Of course, operators lacking a solid customer base will have to stimulate competitive tariffs against their competitors. And, much like a domino effect, innovation will bleed into other industries, like mobile commerce, mobile banking and enterprise services, and thus bring an even broader benefit to the country as a whole.
“The time is right for [mobile number portability] in Nigeria,” Evans adds. “The NCC needs to show leadership in devising the right solution for the marketplace and setting strict deadlines for each stage of the implementation process which must be complied with by all mobile operators. The customer will be the chief beneficiary by having more choices available.”
In other number portability news, Telcordia (News - Alert) – a company heavily involved in the mobile number portability movement occurring across the globe – this week submitted a response to a Request for Information issued by the North American Portability Management LLC, the North American Numbering Council and the Federal Communications Commission.
In its response, Telcordia expressed support for a new, innovative approach to the management of number portability in North America, where Telcordia has been responsible for wireless portability activations in the U.S. and Canada, as well as in countries like Mexico, India, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, South Africa, among others.
“As a number portability leader with the most deployments around the world, Telcordia has significant experience rolling out innovative solutions that provide strong value and performance," said Joel Zamlong, vice president, Telcordia North American Number Portability business. "Telcordia is pleased to participate in the LNPA procurement process with new ideas to make NPAC management more efficient and less costly for the industry. Beyond our current contributions, we look forward to taking part in the Request for Proposal.”
Stay tuned to the Least Cost Routing channel, exclusively on TMCnet, for news related to this international movement.
Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet web editor. She covers a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin