Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mobile Number Portability in Ghana



A few days ago, I was at another informative session of Mobile Monday (MoMo) held at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Center of Excellence (KACE). I was privileged to learn from experts in different sectors of ICT in Ghana. Among the presenters, Saquib Nazir of Porting Access Ghana (the company in charge of the Mobile Number Portability project in Ghana) made a presentation on MNP and answered dozens of questions on the topic afterwards.

Mobile Number Portability or MNP enables mobile users to switch from their current mobile network to other networks within the same country without losing their numbers. This means if a Vodafone customer used the number 020-1234567, he could switch to a MTN and access the new networks services without losing the number 020-1234567. This process is different from the number customization service introduced by Airtel, then Zain which only allowed you to customize the phone number whiles maintaining the networks number of 026. In Ghana the Minister of Communication some years ago announced the full implementation of MNP on 1st July 2011. No one really knows how consumers are going to react to MNP once it starts', Saquib confessed. During the MNP sessions I learnt a few things I would love to share with you;

The Process
After July 1st if you wanted to switch to a different network for whatever reason, you would have to physically walk into the new networks office and request a switch. A new registration procedure will be initiated to register you as a user of the new network, after which the new network will send a notification to the old network via Porting Access Ghana. You would have to purchase a new SIM and get rid of the old one from your previous network. Also, unless your new network decides to pay for the cost of switching, you may have to bear the cost yourself.

The process could take between 5 min to 24 hours. Your application for the switch may be declined if your previous network had blocked your number. This may be due to non-settlement of debt (especially in the case of Post-paid contracts).

Implications
Once your porting request is completed, all stake-holders databases' will be updated with the new information. All mobile services on the previous network including MTN Mobile Money, Tigo Cash and ZAP services will be terminated as you get access the services on your new network.

For developers in the mobile sector who have registered users to access a particular product, you would need to register such users again if they should port their numbers from one network to another. SMS sent to ported numbers may not be received unless they are registered again on their new networks. No one really knows how it will affect the industry we all are stake-holders of. Let's keep our fingers crossed and count down to 1st July 2011.

These are some issues you may want to think about, I encourage you to join me at the next Mobile Monday session in June.

3 comments:

jacqueline said...

great idea ... lets see if it would be embraced by the customers ....

Nokia Ghana said...

great piece... very informative

Ghanaboy said...

The mobile ghana companies in ghana is increasing. there is a big competetion too. everybody used mobile phones in ghana