The number of subscribers leaving their mobile network operators through the mobile number portability platform has declined by 55 per cent as subscribers express a preference for dual SIM cards on their mobile devices.
Analysis of the Nigerian Communications Commission data on incoming porting from January to September 2017 showed that a total of 145,957 numbers were ported from their service providers to new ones.
However, within the same period in 2018, a total of 65,245 subscribers on MTN, Glo, 9mobile and Airtel ported to a new service provider.
Incoming or inward porting refers to the amount of numbers ported from a service provider’s network on to another one.
Mobile number portability was introduced by the NCC in 2013 in order to encourage competition and ensure that consumers continue to enjoy quality service on all the mobile networks.
Majority of subscribers who spoke with our correspondent on Wednesday expressed a preference for subscribing to two mobile networks since most smartphones could accommodate two SIM cards.
Others said they had not been encouraged to port because of their perception that the services of other network providers were not better.
A Lagos-based subscriber, Moradeyo Akinola, said she would rather use two SIM cards interchangeably since the four mobile network carriers had unreliable service.
“The quality of service of all the four providers is the same. So, it is of no benefit to me to change to another network provider. I will rather have two SIM cards on my phone and load a recharge card on anyone that is a better service at any point in time,” Akinola said.
Another subscriber, Stephen Onyekwelu, whose views aligned with Akinola’s, said, “I have never considered porting because of the hassles involved. Besides, it is easier to buy a new SIM pack and keep the best of both worlds.”
A subscriber, Ishaya Ibrahim, said he was denied the opportunity to change to a new network even after meeting the requirements.
Speaking on the issue, the President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, described MNP as a service that was crucial in the telecoms industry irrespective of whether subscribers utilised it or not.
“Porting occurs when a subscriber is dissatisfied with a particular network or when you are relocating to another place. A particular network you are using in your former location may not have good signal strength in your new location,” Ogunbanjo said.
“Subscribers should report to the NCC if they are denied the opportunity to port. Some network operators don’t like people porting, as such, they will ensure they frustrate them.”
Speaking on factors that could be responsible for the reduced interest in porting, the President, Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria, Olusola Teniola, said many subscribers had discovered that the tariff on one network was not completely different from the other as well as the quality of service.
“The issue is that a lot of users are finding out that one network’s quality of service is not different from another network’s quality of service. The pricing is also not very different. They either stay or get another number. It is no longer about me taking one number from one network to another, I keep that number and purchase a new number from another network and try it out,” Teniola added.