The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has released data indicating that a significant number of subscribers switched from one network to another in the first quarter of this year. According to the data, a total of 6,855 subscribers opted for mobile number portability (MNP) to change their service providers while retaining their phone numbers. Among the telecom operators, MTN emerged as the biggest gainer as more customers migrated to its network.
Despite having the largest number of mobile subscribers, Airtel, Glo, and 9mobile experienced a loss of 4,765 customers to MTN during the period under review. Although these operators also witnessed some inward porting, the net result was a reduction in their subscriber base.
The NCC introduced MNP to facilitate seamless switching between telecom providers without the need to change phone numbers. The data reveals that Airtel received 1,173 customers from other networks, while Glo attracted 620 customers through porting. 9Mobile recorded 297 incoming portings in the first quarter.
Conversely, the operators also experienced outgoing porting as subscribers moved from one network to another. 9Mobile suffered the most significant loss with 4,309 subscribers porting out, followed by Airtel with 1,186 outgoing portings. Glo lost 833 subscribers to other networks, while 527 subscribers left MTN for alternative providers.
Several factors influence subscribers’ decision to port their numbers. The decline in porting numbers over the years has been attributed by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to improvements in service quality. However, the NCC believes it is a combination of factors, including the desire to benefit from cheaper call and data rates offered by different network operators.
Mobile number portability grants subscribers the freedom to switch networks while retaining their original phone numbers. This flexibility allows customers to choose operators that offer better quality of service or attractive packages. Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, emphasized that Nigerian subscribers will continue to enjoy this right.
The recent surge in porting to the MTN network may be attributed to the company’s launch of 5G services, which provide higher internet speeds compared to the existing 4G network. While Airtel has also obtained a 5G license this year, MTN currently stands as the sole operator offering 5G services in Nigeria.
As the telecom industry evolves and competition intensifies, network operators will strive to enhance their services and attract and retain subscribers. The option of mobile number portability empowers customers to make informed choices based on their individual preferences and needs, driving the sector towards greater innovation and improved customer satisfaction.