The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) scheme that was introduced on April 22, 2013 is maintaining steady development, even though it appears dull to many.
The scheme is actually gaining momentum in terms of usage among subscribers who see a need for it, as evident in the latest porting status report that was released by the NCC, the commission said.
One of the innovative services championed by the NCC to empower telecoms subscribers in terms of their ability to make choices among mobile network operators has been the introduction of MNP.
However, some Nigerians are of the view that much of its impact has not been felt by telecoms subscribers since its inception, while others feel the contrary.
Executive Vice-Chairman of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, who spoke on what he described as a steady growth in MNP, said the most important reasons for introducing the scheme, were firstly, to provide choices for the subscribers in the face of unsatisfactory experience they are having on their current network.
Secondly, to keep operators on their toes to invest on their network to improve service delivery, since by not improving its network, an operator stands the chance of losing its subscribers to other network with better quality of service experience for the subscribers.
In a recent interview with Public Affairs Director of NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, he said: "The MNP is not a compulsory service that people must subscribe to. If a subscriber sees a need for it, he or she may switch from his or her current network to another and if not, he or she remains on its current network.
"So, you don't expect a surge in MNP uptake since it is based on the decision of the subscribers to either port or not to port. Yet, I believe we are having impressive uptake, coming mostly from individuals who have seen a need to migrate."
Although, some stakeholders such as the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), and the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) have linked the perceived slow pace of uptake of MNP to the multi-SIM culture of the average Nigerian subscribers, a situation where a single subscriber has more than two lines from different operators.
The latest statistics published by the Commission has provided some insights into the porting status currently in the country.
According to the official data obtained from the Commission, more than 87,887 telephone lines have been ported by their users from one network to another since the launch of the mobile number portability about 14 months ago, representing a steady adoption of MNP service.
The figure comprises incoming and outgoing porting on all the GSM operators including MTN, Airtel, Globacom and Etisalat.
Incoming porting results in the gaining of new subscribers by a telecoms network from competitors while outgoing porting shows loss of subscribers on a network to its competitors.
According to the NCC data, which provides details of MNP activities on the various GSM networks between May, 2013 to February, 2014, 87,887 phone users have ported in the first 10 months after the MNP launch.
On the incoming porting, latest industry data revealed that, 7,164 ported in May; 5,759 in June; 6,870 in July; 14,440 in August while a total of 16,185 subscriber lines were ported in September, last year.
In October, November and December, 2013, the figures for incoming porting stood at 8,112; 8,242 and 6,962 respectively.
In January and February this year, the incoming porting figures on the four GSM networks were 6,888 and 7,265 respectively, according to the figures posted on the NCC website.