Vodafone Pushing for Mobile Number Portability in Ghana
As one of the underdogs in the market, Vodafone Ghana said is pushing for the implementation of mobile number portability (MNP).
"The claims and counter claims by network operators on which one has the best network quality will all be put to rest when MNP is implemented to give the subscriber the power to decide which network is best," Major Albert Don-Chebe (rtd), Head of Corporate Communications of Vodafone Ghana, said. He was speaking at a day's workshop for journalists in Accra on the proposed implementation of MNP in Ghana.
The seminar was intended to generate debate in the media on the need for the MNP system to come to Ghana. MNP is a system that allows a customer to keep his number, including the network prefix, when changing from one network operator to another.
Unlike what Zain did when they enabled customers of other networks to register their numbers on Zain with the Zain's 026 prefixing, MNP allows a customer to move from Vodafone, for instance, with his 020XXXXXX number to Zain, still maintaining the 020 prefix.
Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communications, has given his support to MNP during his vetting for Parliament:"With as many as six mobile operators in Ghana it has become necessary for MNP to be implemented to give customers the choice and flexibility to be on any network they want and I can assure you that I am committed to its implementation," he told the Appointments Committee of Parliament.
He, however, noted that MNP could only happen when the regulatory and technical environment was ready for it. The National Communications Authority said about a year ago that it was regularizing the phone numbering system before the implementation of MNP, possibly in 2011.
But in answer to a questionnaire from the Ghana News Agency, the NCA said that MNP is "cumbersome and costly" and that "the success rate of its implementation in other jurisdictions did not match the money that was sunk into the project". The NCA explained that MNP was cumbersome and costly because of the length of time to execute porting, frequency of porting and cost of porting to customers.
Four of six mobile operators, Kasapa Telecom, Zain, Glo Mobile, and now Vodafone have openly declared their support for it, while MTN refers journalists to the NCA for comments on MNP. As the new incumbent, MTN probably has most to lose from MNP implementation.