Nigeria appoints consortium for MNP
By Lucas Ajanaku, Lagos, Nigeria
Determined to push forward introduction of subscriber identity module (SIM) mobile number portability (MNP), the Nigerian Federal Government, through the regulator of the telecoms sector, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has appointed a consortium of three companies to implement the proposed MNP services in Nigeria, which will allow phone users to move from one network to another without losing their numbers.
A consortium of Interconnect/Saab Grintek/Telecordia, was named by the NCC as the preferred vendor for the service after the technical, financial and demo presentations by the bidding vendors.
The consortium emerged out of the ten that submitted bids, and was among the seven companies pre-qualified after the initial technical evaluation. The consortium also prevailed after the demo presentations.
Consequently, the company will be responsible for the set up and implementation of Number Portability Clearing House in Nigeria, and provide an MNP administration solution in the country. They are to do this within six months of receiving the license with a testing period of two months.
The members of the consortium are to execute a tripartite agreement that will indicate their specific responsibilities in the process with the regulator approving such agreement to tally with the conditions of the provision of the service in Nigeria.
The NCC also mandates the consortium to ensure that local content participation and adequate skills transfer are entrenched in the process during the implementation of the five-year license.
The consortium is also expected to configure the technical solution for number portability in Nigeria line with the consultation documents as earlier published by the Commission, and the solution is to be customized to meet the specific process needs, as well as other requirements of the Nigerian network operators.
NCC had earlier indicated that the NP programme will be the next logical step following the SIM Card registration exercise as it is necessary to know the identity of subscribers who are porting their numbers at different times from one network to another.
According to telecom sector analysts, MNP will allow subscribers to move to alternate networks when they are no longer enjoying the quality of services being obtained from their current operators, or when they are no longer happy with the tariffs offered by their current subscribers as they will still retain their original numbers irrespective of the new network from which they may be obtaining their services.