Mobile number porting activities across the four GSM networks of MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and 9mobile dropped rose to 21,385 in August as more subscribers changed their operators. Compared with the previous month when the number of incoming porting stood at 19,468, porting activities in August increased by 9.8 per cent. According to the latest industry statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Airtel, which is the secondlargest operator by subscriber number, benefitted the most from subscribers porting in August as 9,927 subscribers moved to the network from other operators.
9mobile emerged the second largest beneficiary of the movement as 5,593 subscribers ported to its network. MTN, which controls the largest share of the market also recorded 5,188 incoming portings during the month, while Globacom attracted 677 customers from other networks. In terms of outgoing porting, Globacom lost more than it gained as 6,818 customers ported out of the network.
Airtel also lost 5,277 subscribers to other networks, while 9mobile recorded 4,507 outgoing porting. MTN recorded the least outgoing subscribers as 4,469 ported out of its network in the period under review. The monthly figure of porting activities, which reached a peak of 22,539 in July 2015, had been on a steady decline for about three years as mobile users showed less interest in porting.
The Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) had attributed that to improvement in service quality. According to them, the subscribers were showing less interest in porting because they were satisfied with their service providers.
However, with the increase in porting activities from last year, industry analysts said the telecoms operators might have faltered in meeting their service quality key performance indicators (KPIs), thus forcing the subscribers to port in search of better alternatives. A look at the NCC data revealed that the highest volume of porting activities was recorded in June this year when 23,059 subscribers moved in search of better quality service.
NCC had also recently attributed the huge number of inward porting to poor service quality recorded on most networks, as well as the reliability and speed of data service offered by most networks in the month under review.
While attributing the development partly to poor service quality, the Commission had also noted that most subscribers equally ported to other networks because they wanted to enjoy cheaper call and data rates on various promos offered by network operators. The Commission, however, said consumers would continue to enjoy the right port from one network to another if they were not satisfied with the quality of service offered by their network operators, which it had given them.
“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,” the Commission stated. MNP was flagged off by NCC in April 2013 as a way of giving telecommunications subscribers in the country the freedom to move from one network to another for better experience without changing their number.
It was designed to reduce subscribers’ complaints about the poor quality of service as they would have the opportunity to change operators at will. Besides quality assurance, MNP is also believed to engender tariff reduction as competition gets stiffer.
However, telecoms consumers still face the issue of poor service from the operators, which prompts them to keep trying others through porting. While the service providers are also blaming challenges in the operating environment for the service quality, the NCC had recently read the riot act to the telcos, insisting that they have to do everything possible to improve service delivery to the consumers on their various networks or face regulatory sanctions.