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
Mayor opens new ICT shopHer Worship the Mayor of Francistown has opened the doors of a new ICT initiative in Francistown, in the form of a shop from the country’s leading mobile communications provider, Mascom. Read More
Africell, Airtel on collision course over cableUganda’s Africell is set for a legal battle with Airtel as the two trade accusations over the theft of fibre optic cables. Read More
Vodacom coasts home with two industry awardsVodacom Business Nigeria has won two prestigious awards at the Beacon of ICT (BoICT) Awards ceremony. Read More
Vodafone Ghana to reward whistleblowers on cable theftVodafone Ghana is enlisting the help of the general public to help curb cable theft across the country. Read More
MTN Cameroon renews subscriber identificationMTN Cameroon has launched a nationwide campaign that will run until June 2016 to confirm the identity of each subscriber. Read More
Dairo, Ogiemwanye, Uwaoma now Directors at Etisalat NigeriaEtisalat Nigeria has announced the appointment of Adeolu Dairo as Director, Consumer Segment, Elvis Ogiemwanye as Director, Brand & Experience and Eric Uwaoma as Director, Enterprise Segment. Read More
Kenya Power, Safaricom in broadband projectKenya Power International and Safaricom have signed a MoU that will see more Kenyans connected to broadband Internet. Read More
MTN Ghana undertakes 4G LTE site testingMTN Ghana says it has started testing over 60 cell sites located in four different regions of Ghana to pave the way for a successful 4G LTE launch in the third quarter of this year. Read More
Ghana’s President unveils MTN House in AccraGhana’s President, John Dramani Mahama, has officially opened the multimillion dollar new headquarters of Ghana’s telecom giant MTN at a colourful ceremony held in Accra. Read More
FEATURED STORYCriticism over Remita borne out of ignorance, says SystemSpecs
The CEO of SystemSpecs, the company behind the revenue-saving Nigerian Single Treasury Account (TSA) system, speaks to Biztechafrica.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHIBM Opens First Cloud Data Centre in South Africa
IBM is opening a new IBM Cloud Data Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. The new cloud center is the result of a close collaboration with Gijima and Vodacom and is designed to support cloud adoption and customer demand across the continent.