By Olubunmi Adeniyi
Lagos. April 11, 2013: Tony Ojobo, image maker of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has just confirmed in a tweet post this morning that the much awaited Mobile Number Portability (MNP) will kick off Monday April 22 in Lagos.
“Mobile Number Portability kicks of 22nd of April 2013 in Lagos. This is going to be the dawn of a new era in telecoms services in Nigeria” Ojobo said in a Twitter post today ushering in a new era of social media engagement by the telecoms regulator.
According to him, “We expect that the MNP regime will usher in deepened competition, billing integrity, value for money, new service offerings and better Qos.”
The planned go-live comes just as the telecoms regulator recently organised a public forum in Abuja to get industry stakeholders input in respect of the draft Mobile Number portability (MNP) regulations recently published on its website.
Ojobo says then that the regulatory framework was published in order to provide effective administration of the MNP system in the Nigerian telecoms industry.
MNP is simply the ability of mobile telephone subscribers to retain their phone numbers when changing from one mobile network provider to another.
MNP is currently available in over 50 countries including Ghana, Morocco, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Pakistan, and Brazil.
NCC outlined in the “Nigeria Mobile Number Portability Business Rules and Port Order Processes” stipulating guidelines for operation of number porting that a central reference database would be implemented by the licensee.
The guiding document, which has since made available at the Commission’s website for all stakeholders to study and make comments is a system expected to usher in a new experience in Nigerian mobile communications, NCC says.
The areas covered in the draft regulation include; operations and contractual agreements between the mobile network operators and the consumers.
Others are change control, duration, technical and operational principles of MNP service, cost recovery, charging, billing and accounting, customer care, customer complaints’ fraud prevention, limitation of liability, suspension/cease of services, review, and termination of document and code of practice.
The NCC notes that, “following the approval of the MNP framework, the commission began plans to develop the regulatory, legal and technical framework for the implementation of MNP in Nigeria as well as the process of selecting a suitable vendor to run the Number Portability Clearing House in Nigeria with the publication of a Request for Quotation document for the provision of services with regard to the administration of Number Portability Clearing House in Nigeria.”
In the technical and operational principles provided in the MNP service document states that there should be implemented a central reference database which will contain information on all ported mobile numbers in Nigeria.
The central reference database will be managed by the administrator licensed by the NCC. The administrator will also establish and operate a central order handling system for the efficient, robust and secure management of porting transactions between mobile service providers in accordance with the process and requirements mandated by the NCC.
The Commission states that “mobile service providers (and as determined by the NCC, licenced fixed service provider, international gateway providers and Value Added Service providers, referred to as “Other Authorised Parties”) will initially (i.e. at time of launch of the service) take downloads of the data into their own networks/system (so called ‘local downloads’) in order to route calls originating on their own networks/systems to the recipient operator of a ported number.”
NCC adds that mobile and fixed traffic and services originating on their own networks/systems will not be routed to the donor operator of a ported mobile number, while the central reference database be configured in such a way that it will allow individual mobile service providers and other authorised parties to ‘request’ a full data download into its own networks/systems in order to update their own networks/systems and at a time of their choosing and by agreement with the central reference database administrator.
The regulation also states that there should be a fully automated order handling process between mobile service providers and the central order handling system which will be fully automated.
In exceptional cases, the NCC may at its discretion direct smaller/ regional service providers to process porting orders through an approved third party, provided the approved third party operates its own automated order handling system.