Mobile number porting activities across the four GSM networks of MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and 9mobile increased by 56.5 per cent between January and November last year, New Telegraph has learnt. According to the latest industry data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), a total of 181, 377 lines were ported within the eleven months compared with 115,887 recorded in the same period of 2019.
The 11 months porting record for 2020 also surpassed the 2019 full year porting, which stood at 121, 154. According to the NCC, the increase in Mobile Number Portability service usage was due to its increased and continuous public education and awareness.
The NCC’s data showed that 9mobile, which is the fourth-ranked operator in terms of subscriber number benefitted the most from subscribers porting in the 11 months as 72,400 subscribers moved to the network from other operators. Airtel emerged as the second-largest beneficiary of the movement as 66,418 subscribers ported to its network. MTN, which controls the largest share of the market also recorded 36,235 incoming portings during the period under review, while Globacom attracted 3,820 customers from other networks.
In terms of outgoing porting, Globacom lost more than it gained as 53,891customers ported out of the network. Airtel was, however, the biggest loser as 64,608 subscribers moved out of the network to other networks, while MTN recorded 35, 146 outgoing porting. 9mobile recorded the least outgoing subscribers as 27,732 ported out of its network in the period under review.
The monthly figure of porting activities, which reached a peak of 22,539 in July 2015, had been on a steady decline for about three years as mobile users showed less interest in porting. The Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) had attributed that to improvement in service quality. According to them, the subscribers were showing less interest in porting because they were satisfied with their service providers.
However, with the increase in porting activities from 2019, industry analysts said the telecoms operators might have faltered in meeting their service quality key performance indicators (KPIs), thus forcing the subscribers to port in search of better alternatives.
While attributing the development partly to poor service quality, the NCC had also recently noted that most subscribers equally ported to other networks because they wanted to enjoy cheaper call and data rates on various promos offered by network operators. The Commission, however, said it the consumers would continue to enjoy the right port from one network to another if they were not satisfied with the quality of service offered by their network operators, which it had given them.
“The essence of Mobile Number Portability, which the NCC introduced some years ago, offers telecoms subscribers the flexibility to move at will from one network to another, while still retaining their original mobile numbers. They will not be subjected to a particular network if they have reasons to leave the network, and that is the beauty of Mobile Number Portability,” the Commission stated.
Mobile Number Portability (MNP) was flagged off by NCC in April 2013 as a way of giving telecommunications subscribers in the country the freedom to move from one network to another for a better experience without changing their number. It was designed to reduce subscribers’ complaints about the poor quality of service as they would have the opportunity to change operators at will. Besides quality assurance, MNP is also believed to engender tariff reduction as competition gets stiffer.