The Nigerian telecommunications sector has since over a decade re-invented itself while its mobile space has grown to be the largest in Africa, judging from the subscriber base and revenue. Not only have other sectors of the Nigerian economy benefited from these changes, telecom subscribers have and will indeed continue to benefit from develpments within this sector as long as the Nigerian communications comminssion (NCC), National Identity Mangement Commission (NIMC) and The National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS) continue in their efforts at ensuring that the networks provide subscribers with more value for their money.
The NCC has said that data collected from the ongoing nationwide Subscriber Identity Module(SIM) registration exercise will be transfered to the NIMC for integration into a national database to be developed by the Federal Government. According to the Executive Vice-Chairman of the NCC, Eugene Juwah, the NIMC is the final resting place for data being collected from Nigerian telecom subscribers in the ongoing SIM registration exercise. According to him, the NCC will provide the NIMC unhidered access to its database whenever the identity agency is ready to utilize the data. The issuance of the proposed new national identification number is expected to help launder Nigerian image hitherto battered by the activities of fraudsters and their devastating effect on the country.
The Mobile Number Portability (MNP) project slated for later this year is a very important concept as it addresses most of the challenges faced by subscribers. MNP enables subscribes to preserve their number while switching from one network to another. It helps competition, facilitates consumer choice and most importantly, reduces switching costs. Switching costs here do not refer to the amount paid when switching to an operator but to the cost of changing numbers on business cards and documents, notifying family members, repainting business vans e.t.c.
The decision to implement the MNP is therefore commendable. We foresee better days ahead for Nigeria telecoms subscribers.