NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Eugene Juwah
By Emma Okonji
Contrary to the belief of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) that the country is long overdue for the implementation of number portability, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said the time was yet to mature.
Chairman of ALTON, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, in a chat with THISDAY said the unsteady condition of all registered networks as it relates to poor quality of service in recent times, was enough signal to convince the NCC that the networks are not robust enough to carry the capacity needed for number porting.
Citing instances of the recent fine of N1.17 billion imposed on four telecoms operators by the NCC for poor quality of service on their networks, as well as the reactions of affected telecoms operating companies, Adebayo argued that if the networks were strong enough, there would be no trace of dwindling network service and the issue of fine would not have arisen in the first place. “The fine is a clear indication that the networks are not healthy and should be strengthened if NCC expects better results from the standard it set, using the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs),” Adebayo said.
He advised NCC not to be in a hurry to implement Number Portability, so as not to add to the present ugly situation.
He rather suggested that NCC should encourage investment in alternative platform like the fixed line operation, to avoid over dependence on mobile, which he said was already suffering from congestion. He was of the opinion that Nigerians depended so much on mobile operation like the GSM service both in offices and homes, thus contributing to the heavy traffic being generated on the mobile networks.
“Mobile Number Portability is ill-timed. Nigerians are not ripe for Number Portability because networks not yet robust. With the issue of poor quality of service and fine from NCC, it goes to show that the networks are not robust enough for Number Portability. It also shows that if one network is shut down by government agencies or it goes down for any reason, no single operator has the headroom to accommodate the gap and capacity lapses it will create and that will be a problem for the industry. Subscribers cannot port from one network to another, if up to four operators were indicted for poor quality of service. If four operators have been declared by NCC as weak in terms of quality of service, then which network will subscriber port to when all the operators are not strong,” Adebayo asked.
NCC is insisting on the implementation of Number Portability and has concluded to commence the process across networks in September this year. Standing firm on its promise, the telecoms regulator, early this month, released a set of guidelines for the implementation of Number Portability across networks.
Number Portability is a process that allows subscribers to migrate from one network to another, in search of better quality of service, while still retaining the original GSM number, irrespective of the network the subscriber chooses to migrate to. NCC in its released guidelines, made porting free of charge for subscribers.”
Source: Thisday Newspaper