Keeping it clean
TELECOMS| July 24, 2012, 4:50 p.m.
By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana
This month, the regulator assessed the success and achievements of this exercise in Ghana. The National Communication Authority (NCA), together with other stakeholders in the telecom industry, marked the one year anniversary of MNP in Ghana by issuing a report that recount the smooth implementation of the exercise since its inception last year to date.
Although the NCA described the exercise as a success, it also pointed out certain challenges that are still bedeviling the successful running of the MNP across country. For an in-depth understanding of how successful the MNP was carried out, BiztechAfrica had an exclusive interview with an MNP consultant to the NCA, Bob Palitz.
BTA: Overall, would you describe the MNP implementation as successful?
BP: Yes, I believe it was very successful. We have enabled Ghanaian mobile customers to take advantage of the competitive environment, and nearly 400,000 have already done so.
BTA: Is the number of people porting to new operators in line with global averages?
BP: We believe it is, although there are few examples of developing countries which have implemented MNP in an efficient and consumer-friendly manner. In one year, we had successful ports equivalent to 1.6% of the total active account base in Ghana. But there are far fewer ACTUAL customers in Ghana, due to so many people having 2 or 3 SIMs. This would make the porting number higher than 1.6% compared to the actual number of individuals with mobile phones, but there is no way to measure how much higher since we don’t know how many people have more than one SIM.
India has recently reported almost 5% of mobile base porting, but a lot of those ports were due to customers moving from networks which were shut down due to a court decision. It’s a different situation entirely.
We do expect porting to grow with market size and public awareness.
BTA: The report mentions miscommunication and even deception causing problems. How many people have been affected by this?
BP: The reports reaching us indicate it is far less than 1% of successful ports. But again, we take any deceptive practice very seriously.
BTA: What steps are being taken to prevent this?
BP: NCA doesn’t have any direct recourse with the field agents themselves, only against the operators on whose behalf they are acting. Each operator has confirmed to us that they apply a financial penalty to agents who have submitted fraudulent porting requests, but none have told us that they remove such agents from their systems. Obviously this has been insufficient to address the problem. We care considering various steps, including redesign of the porting request form to highlight a warning, and more detailed investigations of each incident, possibly leading to sanctions.
BTA: By when will a decision be taken about sanctions against operators who allow it to happen?
BP: We believe a multi-faceted approach is needed. With regard to sanctions, the Mobile Number Portability Regulations 2011 already give NCA authority to assess administrative penalties of up to GHS20,000 per incident. However, we are in the process of composing a detailed list of sanctions for each type of offense, and the factors that lead to this situation will be included. That list will have to be gazetted before it can take effect. We cannot predict when sanctions would kick in with regard to fraudulent porting, but it is clearly in the cards, if other methods fail.
MORE TELECOMS NEWS
New entrant Equitel carves out 1.9% share of mobile subscriptionsThe Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) Finserve Africa (Equitel) acquired a share of 1.9 per cent of the total mobile subscriptions by registering 665,661 mobile subscribers between January and March, says CAK. Read More
Vodafone Ghana provides ‘live-chat’ platform for customersVodafone Ghana says it has launched an online ‘Live Chat’ and ‘Support Centre’ to enhance its range of customer care channels that offer timely and convenient response to customers’ queries. Read More
Juwah’s tenure at NCC endsDr. Eugene Juwah’s tenure as the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communication Commission has come to an end. Read More
Etisalat sues MTN over anti-competitive practicesEtisalat has instituted legal action against Nigeria’s dominant operator, MTN, over practices it says threaten its business. Read More
Orange increases interest in the Moroccan operator Méditel with the acquisition of an additional 9%Fipar-Holding (the Moroccan Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion group), FinanceCom and Orange signed the final documentation increasing Orange's interest in Méditel, the Moroccan telecommunications operator, in application of the agreements they signed in December 2010. Read More
Safaricom gives network assurance ahead of Obama visitSafaricom has assured its subscribers that minimal network disruptions shall be experienced during visit of US president Barack Obama. Read More
Airtel unveils next gen enterprise solution in GhanaAirtel Ghana says it is setting the new standard for Enterprise business solutions with the launch of its business oriented sub brand, Airtel Business. Read More
Tigo Africa Customer Operations Director visits GhanaThe Customer Operations Director for Tigo Africa, Ingeborg Nieuwenhuis, has just concluded a week-long visit to Ghana. Read More
Tigo reinforces security at cell sites due to battery theftTigo says it is determined to invest to ensure a reliable and stable network for its customers despite rampant cable cuts and increasing battery theft. Read More
FEATURED STORYKenyan SACCOS riding on innovation to attract customers
As confidence in mainstream banks remains low due to prohibitive interest rates, customers are embracing Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCO) as an alternative.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAs curtain falls on MDGs, what next?
Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, speaks to Biztechafrica about setting smart targets.
COMPANY NEWSMTN Business augments its management team further with key strategic appointment
MTN Business SA has appointed an industry veteran, Mariana Kruger, as General Manager of Private Sector.