By Juliet Umeh
Sometimes, people feel uncomfortable with the services they receive from some telecommunication service providers and may wish to switch to others which is also known as Mobile Number Portability.
Most times, they have no knowledge of how to go about it.
However, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, in its effort to put customers first has continuously provided answers to questions that constantly pop up.
According to the Commission, “Mobile Number Portability is a service that enables you to keep your mobile phone number when changing from one mobile service provider to another. So, if you switch between service providers, you do not have to go through the trouble of informing all your friends, family, colleagues and other contacts because your number stays the same.”
Among frequently asked questions include:
*Who can use the system? Mobile Number Portability is available to both “Pre‐Paid” (Pay As You Go) and “Post‐Paid” mobile customers in Nigeria.
Who can provide this service? Mobile Number Portability will initially be available among the GSM mobile operators: MTN, GLOBACOM, ETISALAT, and AIRTEL.
*When will porting become available on the CDMA and Fixed line Networks? NCC has adopted a phased approach to the launch of Mobile Number Portability service in Nigeria. The process to port to CDMA networks will begin as soon as the GSM porting process is completed and launched.
*What type of phone number can be ported? Any mobile number on the GSM network can be ported irrespective of the type of service it is been used for (e.g. voice, data, GPS tracking etc).
*Where do I have to go to port my number? Customers should go to the customer care office, retail shop or outlet of their chosen new service provider and meet with the authorized sales person to request to port their number. (Porting can only be undertaken by visiting the customer care office, retail shop or authorised dealer of your chosen new service provider and is not available by telephone, online or other electronic means). Please do not terminate your service with your existing service provider before initiating porting with the new service provider.
*What time of day will the porting service be available by the operator? The porting service will be available when your new service operator’s store/ outlet/ sales point is open to customers.
*What do I have to do to port? You will be required to complete a Port Request Form. You will also be asked to send a text message with the word “PORT” to a short code “3232”. Assistance will be made available if required.
* How do I confirm that it is my number? To move your number to a new mobile operator, you need to bring the following into the new operator’s stores. Proof of identity – Either an identity card, passport or driving licence or an officially validated photographic identity document; The working mobile number you wish to port.
*What if I do not have an ID card? If you are unable to present any ID card, a webcam will be used to take your photograph.
*How much will it cost me to port my number? There are no charges for you to port your number.
*Can I change my mind during the porting process? You can change your mind anytime before you send the confirmation SMS. Once the confirmation SMS has been sent, you can no longer cancel your port request and the porting process must progress to completion.
*How will I be advised of the status/ progress of my porting request? You will be informed of the progress of your porting request by text messages
*What happens if my porting request is rejected or fails to complete? You should contact your new service provider to resolve the problem
*I’m a pre‐paid customer and I have some credit left ‐ can I take this with me? “Pre‐paid” customers won’t be able to take outstanding credit with them, and should use it up before they switch service providers.
*What happens to SMS that I send or receive whilst porting? Messages which have been sent to the customer prior to porting, but not delivered, may be lost
*Will I be able to take my voicemails, SMS and service settings to my new operator? You will lose your old voicemail, SMS, MMS and ancillary services, and will need to set these up again with your new service provider.