June 1, 2011

Mobile phone subscribers will have the opportunity to migrate from one network service provider to another, whilst maintaining their existing phone numbers, in the next 21 days.

Under the facility, porting services will be provided for subscribers who have requested for that facility. In addition, a recipient operator to whom a request for porting is made by a subscriber may charge the subscriber a porting fee, which shall not exceed per port charge and other charges approved by the National Communications Authority (NCA).

In connection with this mobile number portability, the Minister of Communications, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, on Tuesday, laid before Parliament the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) Regulations 2011, Legislative Instrument (LI) 1994.

The Speaker of Parliament, Mrs. Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo, referred the LI to the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation for consideration.

The regulation provides a framework governing all the relevant aspects of the MNP and also lays down clear eligibility conditions for the porting of mobile phone numbers.

Among other things, the regulation specifies clear time limits for the completion of the porting process.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic at Parliament House; Mr. Iddrisu said number portability was a facility which enabled subscribers to change their service provider, while keeping their existing telephone numbers.

He explained that the purpose of the facility was to factor in consumer choice and effective competition by enabling subscribers to switch among service providers without the cost and inconvenience of changing their phone numbers.

The Minister commended the NCA, the regulator, for making the facility real and introducing the MNP to deepen competition and improve quality of service in the country.

He urged operators to co-operate with the NCA for a smooth implementation and advised subscribers to take advantage of the facility.

Expatiating on the regulation, Mr. Iddrisu said under it, a telecommunications service provider was required to provide mobile number portability facilities in its entire network to a requesting subscriber.

The regulation also enjoins an operator of an electronic communications network to provide mobile number portability facilities on reasonable terms and on non-discriminatory basis for a subscriber who meets the requirements of the law.

A request for a mobile number portability facility made by a subscriber under sub-regulation (1), (2) or (3) shall be granted to the subscriber within 24 hours after receipt of the request.

The MNP regulation also indicates that “mobile number portability is a facility which permits a subscriber to transfer from one mobile telecommunications service provider to another, while the subscriber retains the mobile number allocated to that subscriber by the telecommunications service provider that the subscriber is transferring from”.

Source: Daily Graphic