Less than four years after launching, Ghana’s Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service reached the milestone of two million successfully processed porting requests on February 19, 2015.
This is contained in a statement from the National Communications Authority (NCA) on the current state of MNP in Ghana, which is touted globally as the one of the most successful projects in the telecom industry. It noted that in January 2015 alone, over 95% of all porting requests were completed in five minutes or less, and no customer was charged for porting their number.
This is an improvement on an average porting time of seven minutes previously. MNP is a system which allows mobile telephony customers to move from one service provider to another whilst retaining their old mobile number.
The mobile phone environment in Ghana shares many characteristics with other markets in Africa, such as the predominance of prepaid customers, the availability of multiple competing mobile networks, and other things. But Ghana’s success in MNP is singular because a number of African countries have tried MNP but have not been as successful as Ghana.
Ghana’s success can be largely attributed to the initial advance preparations and rigorous testing and the collaboration amongst all the key stakeholders, comprising the telcos, the NCA, Porting Access Ghana (the central MNP service provider), as well as continuous monitoring and analysis of results by NCA. NCA expressed its appreciation to the telcos and Porting Access Ghana for their contribution towards the success of MNP, and promised to “continue to monitor and enhance this vital aspect of the consumer choice landscape.”
Meanwhile, the NCA is urging mobile telephony customers who wish to change networks without changing their number to only take their mobile phone (with SIM) and an ID to a shop or agent of the network they wish to join. “It is important, however, for the customer to understand that they will be leaving their current network, and any remaining credit in that account will be lost, and their old SIM will stop working,” the statement cautioned.
It reminded customers to copy any contact numbers they have stored on their old SIM, though it is usually possible to do this even after porting was completed and the SIM deactivated. Porting done by street agents on behalf of the mobile network operators makes the process convenient to the customer, which on balance is in the public interest. NCA cautions the public that it is NOT possible to have the same number on two different networks simultaneously, and that any agent who states otherwise should not be trusted.
“Nobody should hand their phone over to an agent who makes such claims,” it warned.
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