45% of ported lines came to us, says Etisalat CEO

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Etisalat Nigeria’s Acting CEO and Chief Commercial Officer, Matthew Willsher says over 45% of total number of customers that have taken advantage of the mobile number portability (MNP) introduced about one year ago by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ported into its network.

He however said between 8 and 9% of the total number had opted out of the telco’s network.

Willsher said these numbers and improvement in service delivery to customers have driven the telco’s subscribers’ figures to 19.3 million from 16 million a few years ago.

He said a dearth of awareness and education about MNP have prevented subscribers who are obviously dissatisfied with the quality of services they get from the providers from opting out as they still feel they may lose their numbers.

Etisalat started operation in the country five and half years ago after three other operators were already on the turf. While its competitors enjoyed incentives such as zero duty on importation of equipment into the country and tax holidays, the firm did not.

When the NCC imposed fines on the three other GSM operators and barred them from adding new subscribers, Etisalat was spared because it met the regulator’s KPIs.

Willsher who spoke during  Etisalat MNP Testimonials, at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, said when the firm began operations in the country after other operators had commenced, there were doubts as to whether there was need for a fourth global service for mobile (GSM) communication provider.

He said but with the coming of the telco and its innovative products, it has changed the industry’s landscape.

He commended Communications Technology Minister, Mrs Omobola Johnson and the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah for the purposeful leadership they have provided for the growth of the industry through various policy and regulatory initiatives and interventions.

On steps taken to guarantee efficient service delivery, he said the firm has been working with famous Chinese telecoms equipment vendors such as Huawei, ZTE and others to ensure that customers keep getting value for their money.

He said the NCC has consistently commended the telco for meeting key performance indicators (KPIs), promising that the telco will not rest on its oars to as it will continue to invest on latest technology to improve on service quality.

Willsher added that pursuant to steeping up its game in the sector, the firm’s 2,800 kilometre (Km) optic fibre cable (OFC) it is laying will soon be completed. He said the level of the deficit in infrastructure in the country and particularly, the telecoms sector, could only be bridged through constant investment.

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