MTN and NCC accused of blocking MNP for Nigerian mobile users

A Nigerian network operator has been accused of intentionally frustrating the mobile number portability (MNP) process launched last month.

Asking not to be named, an official from a rival operator told HumanIPO, in Lagos, MTN is complicating MNP by making it difficult for its subscribers to seamlessly change to other networks.

MNP was finally launched in April after a series of setbacks because network’s told the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) they were not ready.

It is hoped MNP will boost competition by allowing subscribers to switch networks while still keeping their number.

“We’ve had more than 400 requests from MTN subscribers who want to join our network, but MTN is yet to release them after more than a week. This is unbelievable and it shows that the network is scared of losing many of its subscribers to us,” the source told HumanIPO.

The NCC was also accused of complacency in the ensuing debacle surrounding MNP in Nigeria.

The source added the regulator has special preference for MTN which is why it is yet to compel the network to allow its subscribers to freely join their preferred networks.

“I think NCC likes MTN because they are the first in the market and they control the largest market share, but it’s not good for telecoms operations in Nigeria,” he said.

The commission did however summon all the operators in Nigeria, including the interconnect clearing house Interconnect Nigeria (ICN), to an emergency meeting on Thursday where the low rate of porting was discussed extensively.

Available figures showed so far, there had been 4,659 porting requests, out of which 2,456 were successful, 501 are in progress and 1,702 had failed.

Experts believe the intentional frustration of the process is responsible for the low rate of porting requests which is extremely low compared with the enormous size of the Nigerian mpbile market.

However, a source within NCC revealed to Vanguard newspaper that after NCC and ICN investigations, they discovered that there had been more than 80,000 port requests.

“It was discovered that instead of the abysmally low figure of over 4,000 porting requests recorded, the total number of porting requests made were discovered to have been almost twenty-folds, out of which over half were found to be authentic after proper diagnosis.

“It was gathered that during the first wave of investigation, the sabotage was traced to a player in the industry, thereby denying two other players the benefit of porting,” the source said.

Experts in the Nigerian telecoms sector told HumanIPO they strongly believe the player in question is MTN and encourage the NCC to call all players to order to ensure MNP fully achieves its set goals.

An MTN spokesperson told HumanIPO: “We are not aware of such an allegation. The technical support for MNP is in place and working very well.”

Posted in: Telecoms

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