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Number Portability to elude unregistered GSM Lines, Says NCC

By The Citizen

As the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) operators and subscribers brace up for the commencement of Mobile Number Portability across all networks Monday, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has warned that all unregistered SIMs will soon be disconnected.

Giving a detailed explanation on the process of number portability, the Director of Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, said in a live radio programme on Rhythm FM, Viewpoint, monitored in Lagos on Saturday that the commission would soon announce the grace period after which all SIMs yet to be registered will be yanked off the GSM network.

He explained that subscribers who port to other networks cannot change their network again until a period of 90 days, saying adequate measures have been put in place to ensure the success of the measure put in place to give subscribers the opportunity to switch to better networks.

'Both pre and post-paid subscribers can port from network to network. Subscribers can port for as many times as they like. But at any point in time they must retain their network for at least 90 days before they move and this is free,' Ojobo said.

The NCC chief said there would be Number Portability Operator to ensure a smooth operation of number portability, saying the operator and NCC would monitor the process to also ensure that subscribers are not blackmailed into retaining any network provider against their wish.

Meanwhile, subscribers to Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators like Visafone and Starcomms may not be part of the revolution.

But NCC has said it will shift focus to CDMA operators after the successful launch and take-off of the MNP service within the GSM networks.  Mobile Number Portability is currently operational in South Africa and some countries in Europe, but was delayed in Nigeria since the roll-out of GSM services in August 2001, for fear of unstable networks.

Now that NCC is convinced that the GSM networks are stable and robust enough to carry increased traffic that is associated with MNP, the commission, in agreement with the telcos, announced April 22, 2013 as the new date for MNP launch.

The announcement came after several postponements since 2006 when NCC first muted its intention to introduce the service.

The MNP service, according to NCC, would be launched in a colourful way in Lagos Monday at the MUSON Centre