The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that a total of 6,855 subscribers ported from one network to another in the first quarter of this year. This resulted in a gain for MTN as more subscribers moved to its networks.
Despite having the largest number of mobile subscribers, 4,765 customers moved from Airtel, Glo, and 9mobile to MTN in the quarter under review. Although the other operators also recorded some inward porting within the period, this amounted to losses when compared with the number of subscribers that left their networks.
According to the NCC data, the movement was achieved through the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) instituted by the telecoms regulator, which allows customers to change their service providers without changing their numbers.
The data shows data Airtel also received 1,173 customers from other networks, while Glo attracted 620 customers through porting in the period under review. The fourth mobile operator, 9mobile recorded 297 incoming porting in the first quarter.
Just as the operators gained some new customers from one another, they also lost to one another through outgoing porting. 9mobile emerged as the biggest loser for the quarter as 4,309 subscribers ported out of its network to others, while Airtel recorded 1,186 outgoing porting.
Glo also lost 833 subscribers to other networks, while 527 subscribers left MTN’s network to others in the period under review.
Why subscribers port
From a peak of 22,539 in July 2015, the number of ports by mobile subscribers in Nigeria had declined steadily over the years to an average of 3,000 in a month. While the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) had attributed the decline to improvement in service quality, the telecoms regulator believes it is a combination of factors.
According to NCC, aside from the quality of service, most subscribers equally ported to other networks because they wanted to enjoy the cheaper call and data rates on various promos offered by network operators.
- “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. Subscribers port for different reasons, which include getting a better quality of service or enjoying certain packages being offered by another operator. Nigerian subscribers will continue to enjoy this right,” the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta had said.
The increase in porting to MTN network may not be unconnected with the company’s launch of 5G, which offers higher internet speed compared with 4G network. While Airtel has also acquired a 5G licence this year, MTN is the only mobile network operator currently offering 5G service in Nigeria.