Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NCC plans ‘One-way’ number porting

Telecommunications regulator in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), may be tinkering on implementing what industry observers described as ‘one-way’ Number Portability (NP) among operators.

Sources close to NCC informed ITRealms Online at the weekend that number portability would come in phases.

According to our sources, the 33-page consultation paper on ‘Implementation of Number Portability in Nigeria’ released recently was clear on the modules operandi to be used in the implementation of the project.

Our sources further noted that Number Portability (NP) allows subscribers to change their service provider without changing their telephone number.

“Number Portability offers immense benefits to subscribers because they can more easily change service providers without having to notify all of their friends and colleagues of a number change,” our source declared, stressing that this is very crucial to business subscribers.

In addition, ITRealms Online was told that NP is another tool to further increase the tempo of competition, among telecom service providers on issues of concern to the subscribers based on quality of service (QoS), cusotmer care, Value Added Services (VAS) to name a few.

Although our source was emphatic that most of the operators would not be smiling at NCC on this plan, but said that NCC is determined to go ahead with the initiative basically because it serves as stimulus for service providers to improve their quality of service and customer care options as well as availing them the option of entering into more roaming agreements through investment of some of their profits wisely.

“Typically, Number Portability (NP) rewards those service providers having better customer services, network coverage, service quality and pricing,” our sources said.
As indicated by NCC in the initial consultation paper, Number Portability will be implemented by all operators eventually in the country including exchange operators, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Next Generation Networks (NGN) operators and mobile operators.

“Transit or interconnection operators will also implement Number Portability as it relates to direct routing of calls to the proper serving or terminating network as calls traverse their network avoiding unnecessary rerouting of calls,” our sources further said.

Although NCC has concluded plans to deploy Number Portability, our sources said that it will be done in phases, which entails that under the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) and between Fixed line Number Portability schemes respectively, would exist differently in the main time.

“Biomodal Number Portability, which means mobile to fixed or fixed to mobile will not be implemented at this time,” ITRealms Online was told, just as NCC is considering including the porting of Toll-Free/Free phone as well as Premium Rate Numbers and seeks comments from the industry regarding its implementation and timing.

“Mobile NP will be implemented first in Nigeria allowing mobile customers to port their numbers between the mobile operators, however, fixed and interconnect operators will implement within their networks the ability to perform direct routing of calls originating in or transiting through their networks to the proper terminating mobile network,” our sources submitted.

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