I Have a Dream …

The impending Mobile number portability in the Nigerian GSM sector has been welcomed with applause and expectations. This is with the assumption that the industry would become very much competitive, barring any form of cartel formation, that is, if it is not in existence already.

Number portability basically means that, say, using a “0809” number will not necessarily mean you are a subscriber to the Etisalat network. Also, you could have a “0803” number and be a subscriber to Airtel. You can switch within the networks whilst still keeping your number.

A number of countries have long deployed such services; South Africa, Egypt, Israel, US, UK,etc.

It is not news that the quality of service being rendered by these companies is appalling at best. Someone even commented that it is a joke. I agreed with him, especially when i read in the papers that one of them is about launching 4G in Nigeria. 4G! Very hilarious.  Not one of them can even boast of rendering quality 3G services, talkless of 4G. Dont even get me started.

It is an open secret that my GSM company of choice, for now, is Etisalat. Aside from their unrivalled customer services, the 2.5G or Edge speed they have been offering is very much better than what the other jokers have been touting as “3G” or “3.5G”. I just hope that with the recent acquisition of their 3G license, they will show us what true 3G is!

As usual, can anyone visualize how this portability concept will play out in Nigeria? For one, the almighty MTN will frustrate anyone wishing to leave its stables. I am actually quoting a staffer. To transfer your number to another network, it takes as little as a few seconds in New Zealand, few minutes in Australia, and at the extreme end, 5 days in the UK. Can someone give an educative guess on how long it would take MTN? I shudder to think. Unfortunately, Glo is not much better, i honestly do not know which company has the worst customer service. It is obvious that these two companies would witness not a few of their customers jumping ship.

And on the bigger scene, an article was published on this website detailing the incursion of some big names into almost every technological facet of our lives; Bulk sms,etc. True to that article, Google is now actively involved in VOIP telephony, making calls over the internet. They also offer basically all what is being offered by these GSM companies. And guess what? They allow for Number portability. Christened GOOGLE VOICE, unfortunately, the service is not yet available in Nigeria, but like most technological advances, it would eventually.

I have a dream, that one day, in our country Nigeria, “Everywhere i go”, people  “Glo with pride” and … Airtel stopped its endless adverts on TV!!!


  • You guys are better off over there. Discounted phone in Nigeria? That will be the day! Instead, what they do is to charge us more than what the device actually costs. A good example is the Samsung Galaxy tab being offered for N125,000 by Etisalat!

  • The way the portability works in the US is that, if you want discounted phones then the service providers will lock you up in a two year contract. So you can get a phone that regularly cost $500 for about $200. But if you decide to cancel their services and port your number to another service provider, then you will be subjected to a $200 early termination fees.

  • EyeBeeKay

    There are garrulous people I dare not call on phone. I call these “chatterboxes”. They seem to enjoy hearing the sound of their own voices!

    Unfortunately, they are usually people I would not dare terminate a call UPON!

    For such people, I always use sms to communicate

    In connection with this, there is an application I use on my Nokia 5800 called Auto HangUp. Basically it available for most Symbian versions / variants. It comes in really handy, especially for those irritating – unneccessarily long – INCOMING calls. http://my-symbian.com/s60v3/software/applications.php?fldAuto=83&faq=1

  • My choice of communication mode i choose to communicate with is mostly dependent on the other party;
    – With a blackberry user or someone with an efficient email service, i send emails
    – To my folks, of course, i call, before they view text msg as insulting
    – And, well, if i do not really feel like talking, i send a sms.

    The truth is, my voice plan is very cheap (N15/min) and it is probably less effort for me to make voice calls than to start punching my phone, nothwithstanding that i have a standard QWERTY keyboard on my phone. And, somehow, i feel i get my message across better with voice calls. I guess i belong to the old school?

  • Eyebeekay

    Well, ordinarily, the portability thing should be something for which to jump for joy.

    However, a question has been surfacing in my mind in. recent times.

    How prevalent are voice calls now?

    For the increasingly-connected world, is it more likely to pick up a phone and make a call – or is It more natural to send an IM, SMS or email? Which is more cost,-effective, convenient?

    Words (used in. voice calls) are ephemeral .

    In a really serious ‘discourse’, I would rather use a medium that allows me to refer to the ‘conversation’ later – like email or sms.

    Except for the fact that a voice call injects some intimacy / humanism, I would say its importance would get progressively unimportant -to be replaced with those other alternatives..

    Voice is less efficient in terms of bandwidth usage, subject to attenuation / distortion and leads to more network congestion. A network that encourages the alternative forms of communication (other than voice) should have a more efficient network. Less network load.

    As already stated in. this post, VOIP calls are also likely to gradually replace conventional calling methods.

    There is also the POSSIBLE health implication of excessive exposure to radio waves when using voice calls.

    Personally, I use sms, emails and IM far more than voice calls. And I will wagger a bet that this is likely to be the trend now.

    Or, am I the odd fish..?

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