Twenty-two thousand three hundred and fifteen telecommunication subscribers switched network providers in the first six months of 2022 according to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission.
This is 21,613 more than the 702 that switched their telecom provider in the corresponding period of 2021. Within the time under review, more subscribers (11,834) left Airtel than any other network. This was followed by 9mobile’s 8,207, MTN’s 1,162, and Glo’s 1,112.
Also, within that time, the total number of GSM subscribers on the national network hit 206.08 million.
According to industry experts, subscribers switch to other networks because of poor service quality of their original network providers or new service offering in their new network.
The NCC launched the mobile number portability service for GSM subscribers in April 2013 to allow subscribers switch mobile network providers while retaining their numbers.
At the launch, it said, “In furtherance of its efforts to promote competition, improve quality of service and ensure that consumers continue to enjoy a good experience on the mobile networks, the NCC launched mobile number portability service for GSM subscribers in April 2013.
“The MNP enables consumers to switch networks without losing their cellular phone numbers.
According to the commission, the MNP ensures a subscriber retains his mobile number when changing from one mobile service provider to another and is available to all GSM mobile subscribers.
It explained that since MNP works on the Mobile Subscriber ISDN Number and not the International Subscriber Mobile Identity, it affects all MSISDN-based services like SMS, MMS, voice calls, and other prepaid services, ensuring that subscribers do not lose access to these services.
It added that while subscribers could port from one network to another, there is a 45 days-imposed restriction time within porting.
Since its inception, the scheme had witnessed some setbacks. In 2019, the NCC conducted an audit of MNP scheme to check the compliance of operators with the MNP Regulations 2014 and the Business Rules and Port Order Processes.
It also stated that the audit was necessary as incoming porting activities in the industry shrunk by 35 per cent in two years and outgoing porting activities reduced by 62 per cent within the same period.
It said, “To review all port rejections by the donor to ensure that these rejections are within the valid reasons for rejection in the MNP Business Rules.
“Review the current status of outstanding MNP fees owed to the Number Portability Clearinghouse Administrator by Mobile Network Operators.”