The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has introduced a new numbering format for fixed lines in Nigeria.
According to the telecom regulator, the fixed lines, which are mostly used by businesses will now include the prefix “02” before the original numbers. NCC in a statement released on Wednesday, said the change is in keeping with its responsibilities under the enabling law, the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003, to manage Nigeria's numbering resources.
With this change, Nigeria’s Fixed-Lines Numbering Format has changed from eight digits to 10 digits by just adding the "02" prefix before the existing fixed number. The Commission, however, noted that existing numbers will continue to operate concurrently till the cut-over date of December 31, 2023.
From January 1, 2024, the new numbering format beginning with the "02" prefix will be operational. In other words, the old and new number formats are allowed to run concurrently till the cut-over date (December 31, 2023). Thereafter (from January 1, 2024), the new fixed-lines format will assume full recognition across all networks.
Providing samples of how the new numbers will appear starting from January 2024, NCC in the statement signed by its Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Muoka, explained:
- “In the new order, to dial the hitherto existing number, 09461700, please dial 02094617000. Additional examples are: For Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kano’s current number format of 014630643, 094630643, 084460643, and 064460643, will now be 02014630643, 02094630643, 02084460643 and 02064460643 respectively in the new numbering format.
- “However, it is important to note that the change only affects the Fixed Telephone Numbers. There is NO CHANGE to the existing mobile numbering format.”
The Commission added that the announcement was made to give expression to a key responsibility of the NCC and it is consistent with the practices of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations arm supervising Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
While most Nigerians are using mobile lines, fixed lines are considered the ideal numbers for businesses, hence, many organizations are maintaining fixed business lines. Two of the mobile network operators, MTN and Glo are providing this service alongside other operators like iPNX and 21st Century.
As of July this year, NCC’s data shows that there were a total of 96,771, actively connected fixed lines in the country. 21st Century is the largest operator in this segment as it accounts for 88% of the total active connections.