You will excuse me for not taking you through what MNP (Mobile Number Portability) actually means, but if you have been living in a cage you can read through our previous articles to get up to speed. Its simply switching from one mobile operator to another without having to change your mobile number. Actually you forgo buying another SIM card and retain your same old SIM card but you will able to switch operators and access all the services. So if your well known number is +256-7xx-xxxxxx it will always remain that if even if you switch carriers. It doesn’t call for you to change your number with MNP. As simple as that, understood? Great. One of latest countries in Africa to implement MNP is Nigeria last year in April, and 3 months down the road the exercise was sighted with sabotage. Could UCC be cautious the same fate befalling Uganda?
Its a dual SIM affair
Implementing MNP in Uganda, would be an ease because I bet it would be highly welcome and successful given the rate at which most Ugandan mobile subscribers switch operators and how successful dual-SIM phones have become in Ugandan society. If Ugandan mobile subscribers were well contented then the Chinese would actually be suffering losses. This comes as most dual-SIM phones are mostly fake Chinese made though bearing names of well known brands like Nokia, Samsung and the rest. This even forced the fore mentioned brands to come up with dual SIM variants to capture into this growing trend especially sub-Saharan Africa which Uganda is part. It’s a growing trend across the developing world having multiple SIM cards so implementing MNP would solve all the hustles associated with maintaining two SIM cards on the go. I think this is a signal to the industry players how vulnerable they are because of subscribers churning away from their networks due to several options.
No MNP for now, regulator
By May last year, UCC was contemplating MNP, so what went wrong? Was there any lobbying? Anyway going back to the gist of this post, if you had a dream that MNP will be a reality any time soon in Uganda, I am afraid I have to tell you to wait a little longer. Implementing MNP posses a greater threat to the big players in our crowded telecom space with the duopoly big yellow, MTN followed by big red, Airtel. The likes of Orange, Uganda Telecom and now Sure telecom will take up the minor voice market.
According to a source at UCC that wished to stay anonymous, the telecoms regulator came to a consensus that rolling out MNP in our motherland is not high priority, citing that it would be expensive for such a market compared to the prevailing trend of most mobile subscribers maintaining multiple SIM cards. And also, the number of postpaid consumers that would be attracted to such a service are very few compared pre-paid subscribers.
It remains to the unforeseen miracles that all the players at stake agree to roll out this so much needed service to Uganda just like the likes of Egypt, south Africa, Nigeria and Ghana who have already rolled out mobile number portability.