The number of subscribers that changed their GSM operator rose by 100 per cent to 13,985 in the first quarter of 2022, according to data on the Nigerian Communications Commission’s portal.
According to the data, no subscriber left their GSM operator In Q1, 2021. This data is tracked under the outward porting category of NCC’s portal.
The commission defines outward porting as “the number of numbers ported to another service provider’s network from a service provider’s own network.”
Within the time under review, 10,023 subscribers left Airtel, 2,930 left 9mobile, 582 left MTN, and 450 left Glo.
In December 2020, the NCC directed telecommunication companies to suspend sales, registration, and activation of new SIM cards, impacting porting activities as subscribers could not switch their service providers.
Subscribers change their network providers, while retaining their numbers, because of poor service quality offerings by their original service providers.
The NCC launched this service, mobile number portability, in April 2013. It said, “In furtherance of its efforts to promote competition, improve quality of service and ensure that consumers continue to enjoy a good experience on the mobile networks, the NCC launched mobile number portability service for GSM subscribers in April 2013.
“The MNP enables consumers to switch networks without losing their cellular phone numbers.”
According to the commission, the MNP works on the Mobile Subscriber ISDN Number and not the International Subscriber Mobile Identity, hence affecting all MSISDN-based services like SMS, MMS, voice calls, and other prepaid services.
It added that while there is no restriction as to the number of times a subscriber can port, there is at least a 45 day restriction time between each porting.
Since the Federal Government banned the sales of new SIMs and related activities due to National Identification Number-Subscriber Identity Module exercise in December 2020, subscribers have struggled to switch network providers. Subscribers that switched their network providers fell from 182,958 in 2020 to 11,250 in 2021.