TELECOMS

Mobile Number Portability Billed for Early Implementation in Ghana

The concept of Mobile Number Portability could witness an early implementation as frantic efforts are being put in place. The Minister of Communication, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu has stated that the testing of equipment for take off would be done in June, this year, while full implementation would be conducted in 2011, a year short of the implementation date of 2012.

According to the Minister, the National Communications Authority (NCA) was collaborating with the various operators to define the parameters for the implementation of the project next year. He said the implementation of the programme is in line with his Ministry's efforts at facilitating consumer choice in the telecommunication market.

The announcement of the concept some few months ago has since created euphoria among mobile phone subscribers who are of the view that its implementation would offer subscribers the greatest of choice to switch between operators without necessarily losing old contacts or changing SIM cards.

Mobile number portability is simply keeping your mobile phone number when moving from your existing service provider to a new provider.

It means you will use the services and features offered by your new provider and not take your existing service and its features with you.

It comprises two distinct, but related processes. The first is the process of porting numbers from one service provider to another, which is more customer-facing. The second has to do with the process of routing calls to a number that has been ported. This is more network-facing.

Currently, if subscribers of a mobile network want to switch from one network to the other, they would have to obtain a new number from the new operator. This normally leads to loss of existing contacts or creates a situation where the subscriber needs to take up the task of making all their contacts about their new number.

Mr. Kofi Capito, Chief Executive Officer of Consumer Protection Agency, and a consumer rights advocate, has welcomed the development, stating that an early implementation of the concept is good for consumers in the country.

According to him, the technology for the implementation of the programme is readily available and being implemented the world over, including some African countries and, therefore, could not fathom why Ghana should tarry in its implementation.

The Chief Executive Officer of Consumer Protection Agency reiterated that the implementation of the Mobile Number Portability would offer the consumer a convenient choice of mobile service operator. He noted that consumer's choice to switch in between networks would force Service Providers to do the right thing and ensure quality service provision.

Some subscribers The Chronicle spoke to complained about the poor service delivery of some Service Providers, but said they are still hooked to those networks because they do not want to lose their number, which is well known to their friends and business clients.

Other customers said they have been compelled to go for additional handsets to enable them use other networks that have better services, whiles maintaining their old numbers. They thus welcome the Number Portability concept, saying it would make service providers sit up, knowing that they would lose subscribers if they do not improve their service quality.

Ghanaian Chronicle

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