The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that the long-delayed launch of mobile number portability (MNP) will take place on 25 March 2013, writes PM News. The regulator’s head of Media and Public Relations, Reuben Muoka, reportedly told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that during the initial phase, only subscribers of the country’s GSM mobile networks will be able to transfer their numbers to another operator. ‘As soon as the GSM takes off, it will not be long before CDMA also begins its operation on MNP,’ the NCC official was quoted as saying. He added that the introduction of MNP in Nigeria is expected to increase competition in the mobile market, in which South Africa-owned MTN is the largest operator by subscribers by far, with a market share of 42.1% at the end of 2012 (corresponding to 47.44 million customers).
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the introduction of MNP was first considered by the NCC in the third quarter of 2007, but the commission has been waiting for the conclusion of SIM registration before it officially launches the service. The NCC announced in October 2011 that it had selected a consortium of three companies – Interconnect Clearinghouse Nigeria, Saab Grintek and Telcordia – to set up and implement number portability for the first five years, and having already pushed back the expected launch date on various occasions, in December 2012 the regulator said it was set to begin testing the system in order to address any problems ahead of a planned launch in the first quarter of 2013.