Uganda’s Communication Commission (UCC) has decided to delay the implementation of mobile number portability (MNP) further, until a suitable model can be found, according to local news reports. Patrick Mwesigwa, the UCC’s director of technology and licensing said that after studying its impact in Kenya and South Africa, MNP had been deemed too expensive in relation to its benefits. Mwesigwa clarified that UCC will not ‘put if off the table completely but we need to do more research to find a suitable model for Uganda’. The UCC is expected to look into who will bear the cost of implementing MNP, and who would manage the system.
James Wire Lughabo, chairman of Uganda ICT Consumer Protection Association (UICPA) dismissed portability, saying that ‘there is not much impact and benefits in number portability. It is good but it is not a top priority now, it is more of a feel good factor than a necessity.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Uganada’s regulator has been investigating MNP since 2008, with the results of its first study suggesting that portability be developed once the market had reached 10 million customers. However, by the time the study was published, subscriber numbers had already risen above ten million. MNP was put on the backburner, however as another study was commissioned, which has now resulted in the verdict that MNP is too expensive to be a viable concern.