By Adekunle Adekoya
NUMBER portability services, which will allow phone users to move from one network to another without losing their numbers will soon become a definite reality as the the Nigerian Communications Commission has announced the appointment of a consortium of three companies to implement the project.
A consortium of telcos comprising Interconnect, Saab Grintek, and Telecordia, was announced by NCC as preferred operators for the service after the technical, financial and demo presentations by bidders. A license for the job, to be given by NCC, is for five years.
The consortium will be responsible for the set up and implementation of Number Portability Clearing House in Nigeria, and provide mobile number portability solution administration in Nigeria within six months of receiving the license with a testing period of two months.
According to NCC, members of the consortium are to execute a tripartite agreement that will indicate their specific responsibilities in the process. NCC, as the regulator, will approve the agreement in line with conditions of the provision of the service in Nigeria.
The NCC also mandated the consortium to ensure that local content participation and adequate skills transfer are entrenched in the process during the implementation of the five-year license.
According to a statement from NCC signed by Mr Ruben Muoka, the regulator’s Head of Media & Public Affairs, the consortium is also expected to configure the technical solution for number portability in Nigeria line with the consultation documents as earlier published by the Commission, and the solution is to be customized to meet the specific process needs, as well as other requirements of the Nigerian network operators.
It will be recalled that the Commission has earlier indicated that the Number Portability programme will be the next logical step following the SIM Card registration exercise as it is necessary to know the identity of subscribers who are porting their numbers at different times from one network to another.