One year after, have you ported?

 (By Oyede Saheed Adesunkanmi)

No doubt that Mobile number porting is good but it came too late and it will be absolutely wrong for us to believe that with number porting, the quality of service delivery by these providers will improve or has improved significantly. In fact, the result if any, over the past one year has shown that Nigerians by their very nature are not ‘portable’. Not one nor two nor three things can lead to better quality service by the telecoms provider in Nigeria, the solution is a multi-phaseted approach, an approach that takes everybody into consideration, where everybody plays his part according to the rules of the game.

FROM 2001 when mobile telecommunications made its way to Nigeria, till date, Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has been regulating the operators in order to ensure a better quality service but up till now, it has been a journey of one step forward, three steps backwards. In a bit to improve at all cost, NCC on the 12th of May 2013 officially kick started the mobile number porting which allows for the subscribers to switch at their convenience from one telecommunication provider to another primarily motivated by the need to get value for their money.

  In response, the operators came out with series of conditions that are necessary and sufficient for them to provide the quality service that meet the minimum international standard. The chief of all the conditions was the huge cost of doing business in Nigeria.

   Rather than come up with practical ways on how to improve on their quality of service, most of the providers are pulling springs behind the scene to ensure that porting from one network to another becomes frustrating. In a report monitored in the Vanguard newspaper of May 12, 2013, titled: ‘Scandal rocks mobile number portability’, it was discovered by NCC that the operators have started coming up with ways to delay and discourage mobile number porting part of which include the unwillingness of the donor operator to quickly process and release the lines to the receiving operator. Some statistics here will paint the picture clearly. Between day one to May 12, 2013, the total number of porting request so far was 4,659, the total completed successfully was 2,456, the total number that was in progress during the period monitored was 501 while total requests that failed was 1,702 the irony is that as of 2014, the number of porting request has reduced while the failed request keeps soaring.

   Mobile porting came too late and the porting procedure is too cumbersome with so many conditions which discourage rather than encourage porting. The Nigerians I know are not eager to port when it costs far less to get a new SIM card. We have already fashioned out how to scale the hurdles of poor network, thanks to all the various types of phones that allow for dual SIM even up to three SIMs in a single phone. We have started porting years ahead of the official porting as introduced by the NCC thereby reducing mobile number porting to a mere academic exercise. More so, the telecommunication companies are much more interested in retaining their customers at all cost so they tamper with the porting procedure to frustrate the intending porters, knowing full well that the subscribers already have two to three phones which they use to do their manual porting.

  No doubt that Mobile number porting is good but it came too late and it will be absolutely wrong for us to believe that with number porting, the quality of service delivery by these providers will improve or has improved significantly. In fact, the result if any, over the past one year has shown that Nigerians by their very nature are not ‘portable’. Not one nor two nor three things can lead to better quality service by the telecoms provider in Nigeria, the solution is a multi-phaseted approach, an approach that takes everybody into consideration, where everybody plays his part according to the rules of the game.

 • Adesunkanmi lives in Ota.

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