Mobile Number Portability in Nigeria – The subscriber war has begun!

It has finally happened! After dancing around the issue, and numerous deadline shifts and compromises between the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the various Nigerian GSM network operators, Mobile Number Portability (MNP) has finally arrived in Nigeria. In typical Nigerian fashion, it landed unexpectedly with some strong moves being made by the various network providers in Nigeria to woo new customers into switching over.

The most surprising for me so far has been MTN. If you haven’t seen their most popular ad relating to MNP, you have missed a trick. MTN have made a major coup by securing the poster boy for a rival network – Etisalat (well, poster-man in this case). This is one of the most effective marketing ploys I have seen recently. (See it here: http://bit.ly/12FrRqX ) The other networks have responded with their various adverts, but I haven’t found any as effective as the aforementioned one. We await the continuing ripostes and counter-manoeuvres from each operator in the coming months.

Focus shouldn’t be lost on all the flash here however. I would hope that the main beneficiary of all the expected feuding will be the the end consumer. From experience with MNP in the UK, when a customer contacts his current network provider requesting to switch to another, the network usually tries to keep its customer by offering lower rates or additional services for free in order to sweeten the deal. This would be a desired outcome if that situation replicates itself in Nigeria.

Furthermore, with any large influx of customers to a particular network should spur the others to slash their rates or improve their services in order to win the patronage of the general public.

All we can do now is sit back and watch.