Sunday, March 24, 2013

HOW TO SWITCH FROM ONE MOBILE PHONE NETWORK TO ANOTHER AND RETAIN YOUR OLD PHONE NUMBER

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have done what we can be proud of: from 25th of March 2013, you will be able to switch from one telecom network to another and still retain your phone number. Here, let’s break it down some more: assume you have an MTN phone number 0803xxxxxxx. If you want to opt out (port out) of MTN to start using Airtel, you simply move on to Airtel network (port in) and you continue to use your 0803xxxxxxx. Unbelievable? Well, yes, until NCC stepped in. The system that enables it is called Mobile Number Portability (MNP). It’s been in effect in several countries and it is coming live to Nigeria. Here’s how to do it, very simple: Visit your destination network porting center or office or shop or representative and obtain MNP form, fill it out with a valid ID and you are done. The process is supposed to take less than 48hrs. There are however some things you should know before making the switch: 1. You can port out only once in 90 days. 2. Once you port out of a network, any unused credit and megabytes disappear, more like you can’t have your cake and eat it. 3. You will get a new SIM from your destination network (recipient) but you will retain your original phone number. 4. As for contacts stored on your SIM, I don’t know if they follow you to your destination network, but I surely will be among the first persons to port out so I will have more on that by then, but I’ll advise you back up your contacts before porting out. 5. During the duration of the porting, you continue to use your old (donor) network. 6. And relax, porting is absolutely free. Please report anybody that tries to charge you for porting to NCC. Advantages 1. The most obvious advantage is that real healthy competition will start among telecoms companies. Previously, subscribers were locked onto telecoms because of the inconveniences of replacing phone numbers that people have come to know them with. When Glo slash call rates and you happen to be on MTN, to take advantage of the slash, you have to buy a Glo SIM, acquire a new phone number and then create awareness for your new Glo number among your contacts. If you can’t go through the hassle, you just ignore the price slash and continue on your more expensive MTN tariff. But with the latest move by NCC, you can just hop on Glo and enjoy the lower tariff. MTN will most likely make moves to have you back by slashing their tariffs too. If you find the new MTN tariffs to your liking, you can just port in back, all this time retaining your original MTN number. Now that’s what I call competition. 2. No necessity to carry more than one phone. Instead of acquiring another phone to house your extra SIM or getting double or triple-SIM phone, why not just port in to another network and stick to a simpler one-phone one-SIM lifestyle? (in order words, phone-sim monogamy) You charge only one battery, protect only one phone from being stolen, carry around only one charger, have a single ringtone, etc. 3. Funding. If you have more than one line, you have to buy recharge cards for all your lines. But on only one line, you buy less recharge cards. The economics is easy, isn’t it? 4. If you land in a place where, say you have an MTN line and service is not available but you can find Airtel, you can port in to Airtel permanently or for the duration of your stay in that area, then return to your MTN after you leave the area. Isn’t that better than buying another SIM? This should be interesting to Corpers, I think. 5. Businesses can change phone numbers without altering call cards, sign or billboards, repainting vehicles, etc. Miscellaneous 1. New telecoms entering the market will find it easier to snatch subscribers from already existing telecom network. 2. You will no longer be able to tell which network a phone number belongs to by simply studying the digits because the owner might have ported out to another network. 3. The number of active phone lines in the country will reduce because some people will abandon some of their SIMs. Follow Us on Twitter: @NigeriaTeleNews Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nigeriatelecomnews

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