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24 March 2010
In November 2009 the Communications Commission engaged the services of external consultants to develop the regulatory, legal and technical framework for implementing number portability in Nigeria.
As the commission clarified in October 2007 during a four-day workshop organized in conjunction with the International Telecommunication Union to provide information to operators, subscribers and general stakeholders about its intention to introduce a new numbering plan and number portability, the commission views number portability as an important tool to promote competition, improve pricing and quality of service and expand coverage in the telecommunications sector.
It is expected that number portability will be implemented by all telephone operators; fixed-line number portability will be limited to fixed-line operators and mobile number portability will be limited to mobile operators. The commission first plans to implement mobile number portability to enable consumers to switch between mobile networks without switching subscriber identity module cards or changing their numbers. There are no indications as to when the commission will introduce fixed-line number portability.
The commission hopes that mobile number portability will:
International experience suggests that mobile number portability will not be voluntarily introduced by the network operators. It is anticipated that the commission will require operators to implement mobile number portability and will oversee its implementation to avoid delays and a lack of cooperation among network operators. The commission plans to work with mobile network operators to develop the regulatory, legal and technical requirements for port numbers, as well as standard practices.
Despite anticipated problems, it is expected that mobile number portability will increase competition between operators and encourage the development of a wider range of services and tariff offerings, which will benefit consumers. If this is the case, mobile number portability will have a positive impact not only on the telecommunications market, but also on the wider economy.
For further information on this topic please contact Afoke Igwe at Udo-Udoma & Belo-Osagie by telephone (+234 1 263 4831), fax (+234 1 263 4541) or email (email@example.com). The Udo-Udoma & Belo-Osagie website can be accessed at www.uubo.org.
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