By Emeka Aginam
At the just concluded second quarter industry forum on Mobile Number Portability, MNP, organized by the ICT Publishers Alliance held in Lagos recently, telcos under the umbrella of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria , (ATCON) disagreed with the regulator, NCC, over options of sanctions for errant mobile service providers under the MPN scheme.
MNP allows subscribers to switch from one network to another in search of better telecoms service, while still retaining their original mobile numbers.
Speaking at the forum , ATCON President, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, told the gathering that saction was not the best for ailing operators under the MNP. He argued that service providers would have used the money placed on them as sanctions to build network capacity in the country.
“Sanctions have not worked for the sector. It is not the way to go because it involved taking the money that should be invested in the networks to give to the regulator. It is the bail out option. Iam not in support of sanctions as an option. The operators could have used the money to build capacity in the country” Ajayi said.
Disagreeing with ATCON boss, the Special Assistant (Technical) to the Executive Vice-Chairman, NCC, Mr. Edoyemi Ogoh told the audience sanction was only a tool used as deterrent to others thereby restoring sanity in the system.
“There is always sanctions in any system. NCC uses sanctions to restore sanity in the system. It is always the last option after several warnings and reminders. When all avenues have been explored by the NCC to correct the operators and they still do not want to change, then we sanction. This will eventually force them to do what is right,” Ogoh who represented NCC EVC Dr. Eugene Juwah said..
Also speaking at the forum, the Chief Operating Officer, Interconnect Clearing House Limited, Mr. Uche Onwudiwe, while agreeing that the number of subscribers porting across the networks were on the rise noted that there was need to review the 90-day timeline to 30 days.
Although NCC introduced the porting scheme with much enthusiasm, it appears Nigerians are not so excited about it, as only 22, 000 subscribers have successfully ported their numbers in four months, of the 114 million active subscribers across all networks.