By Issa Sikiti da Silva, Senegal
Mobile telephone users in Senegal will from February 2015 be able to cross over to the network of their choice while keeping their current numbers.
This is the exact date when the process of mobile number portability (MNP) – as they call it – will become effective in this West African nation, the country’s regulator announced last week.
The process kicked off in July, ARTP boss Abdou Karim Sall, said, adding that the regulator has been in consultation with operators to agree on the terms of pricing and customer experience, among others.
ARTP’s MNP pre-consultation process was opened in mid-February and lasted until 21 February, and the two parties have since been working on various steps, which include the signing of bilateral agreements and the building of a centralised numbering database before going through a testing phase.
ARTP sources told Biztechafrica that the testing phase could begin as early as January 2015 before going through the commercialisation process.
This gives the regulator a maximum of two months to work on what the authorities have described as a culmination of a long process to allow consumers to change their networks without having to change their numbers.
Senegal has currently 14 million mobile users out a population of 13 million and this translates to a penetration rate of about 117%.
Three operators are currently servicing this market, which the regulator says is still dominated by Orange with 55.07%, followed by Tigo with 24.79% and Expresso with 20.15%.
“I need to cross over to the other network, which I believe will suit my pocket and make me smile all year long, but I don’t want to lose my number. This portability number they are talking about will help many people like me,” Boubacar Ali Sene said in the capital Dakar.