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Mobile Number Portability Goes Live in Ghana

InterConnect Assists in Successful MNP Launch

Mobile Number Portability (MNP) has just become a reality in Ghana with the successful launch of MNP on the 7th July 2011. The new porting system will allow subscribers to take advantage of better pricing plans or quality of service elsewhere by moving from one network to another without changing their number or suffering any loss of service.

InterConnect was retained by Ghana’s telecommunications regulator, the National Communications Authority, to advise on its Mobile Number Portability strategy development and implementation.

InterConnect’s role has been to support the NCA to develop an MNP plan and strategy based on international best practice, ensuring that the identified solution was cost effective and appropriate for the situation in Ghana and was reasonable and technically feasible. Additionally, the solution had to be developed in a demanding timeframe as the NCA felt that MNP needed to be delivered by mid 2011.

In order to achieve this challenging objective, InterConnect worked with NCA and the mobile operators through the main decision making body, the Steering Group, and the Working Groups which were established early on to focus on individual segments of the implementation. Through these bodies, InterConnect was able to direct and assist in the development of regulations, policies and procedures and propose practical solutions to any identified commercial, legal and operational problems as they arose. InterConnect was active in this during the entire duration of the project, from the Public Consultation in February 2010 through to launch in July 2011.

InterConnect’s project manager, Les Oliver, commented on the launch as follows:

“Serious work on MNP only began in February 2010 with the Public Consultation, however, InterConnect has worked closely with the NCA and all the mobile operators to develop processes and procedures based on international best practice, learning from earlier successes and failures in other countries. This enabled Ghana to launch MNP on time on July 7th 2011, just 16 months after inception.

With any implementation of this type, it is extremely important to set consumer-friendly rules from the beginning. NCA completely understood the stimulus that MNP could have on the market in Ghana, freeing customers to make informed choices about their mobile suppliers and thereby increasing the competitiveness of the market. However, it was clear that these advantages can only be enjoyed by customers if the process of porting is customer friendly, quick and inexpensive and therefore attractive to use. These elements were identified at the outset and have been provided to customers in Ghana as part of the process from launch”.

Even with the objectives clearly identified and a working framework in place, there was still a lot of detailed work to be done in order to launch on the target date.

“The technical implementation is complex,” Les continued, “and has involved a lot of hard work and dedication by the mobile operators, and the operator of the centralised order handling and call routing system (Porting Access Ghana), under the directorship of the NCA and through the various ‘industry working groups’ established by the NCA and InterConnect at the beginning of the project. The operators have work diligently on behalf of their customers, again recognising the experience in other countries that a successful MNP service brings with it an increase in customer activity which benefits the mobile industry as a whole – it is ‘a tide that raises all boats’ as the saying goes.

InterConnect congratulates the NCA and the mobile operators of Ghana for a successful launch and wishes them continued success. We are sure that, as long as they carry on working together in good faith, as they have throughout this project, then they will enjoy that continued success, and the consumers of Ghana will benefit.”

Mr Joshua Peprah, NCA’s Director of Regulatory Administration, observed that “InterConnect’s advice and involvement, along with NCA’s engagement in the process, were key to our on-time and relatively smooth launch of MNP in Ghana. The early results are very encouraging and indicative of porting volumes in line with those seen in countries where best practice was followed”

InterConnect has advised both operators and regulators across Europe, Africa and the Middle East on Number Portability options, procurement and implementation. For more information on our NP services, please visit our website or contact Les Oliver directly.

Update: 5th September 2011

The NCA is pleased to report that as of the end of August 2011, eight weeks after the launch of MNP, a total of 64,657 mobile phone subscribers in Ghana had taken advantage of the MNP system to move from one mobile service provider to another whilst retaining their mobile number.

NCA’s analysis of data for the month of August shows that of the 43,598 porting requests completed in the month, 65% completed in 4 hours or less and 99% within 24 hours. The average port time was 4 hours 16 minutes.