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Mobile Network Portability; My Journey from MTN to Etisalat and Now Glo

Many Nigerians have heard about porting from one mobile network to another, but it seems they do not really get the gist of it.

Mobile Number Portability (MNP) makes it possible for mobile phone users to retain their mobile phone numbers and change from one mobile network operator to another. In others words, you can switch (port) to another network without losing your phone number.

This service became effective 22nd of April, 2013 under the supervision of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

For you to port your present phone number to another network, you need to visit the nearest office of your intended network with a valid identity card. You will be given a form to fill, send the word ‘PORT’ to a short code and voila! You are on the network. Depending on the network, you will have to re-register your line.

There are a number of ways calls and messages on ported lines are being routed across the world. In Nigeria, there is a central database (CDB) of ported numbers where all the activities take place. MNP gives you the power to use and dump a network at will but as the moment in Nigeria, you can only switch network once in 90 days.

Now my story…

Let’s turn the hands of time back a little, between 2009 and 2012; when there were only a few smartphone owners. A time Symbian phones were the main thing while Android is gradually gaining recognition.

Back when you load N200 airtime on Etisalat you get free 15MB which can last for 5 days or even a week. Thanks to University of Ilorin internet connection, I only use this free data to do a bit of catch up on social media.

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Then Etisalat was my side network; MTN was my major line. MTN was not always at optimum capacity in my area in Osogbo, forcing me to use a nearby Cyber Café. Etisalat was just expanding; there was no coverage in Osogbo just yet.

I had to bear with MTN throughout my university days. And, of course, I had ditched my Etisalat line in 2012, but I registered it before the NCC deadline on SIM card registration.

I had Nokia C3 then, even when I had data on my line, MTN would still deduct or finish up my airtime balance especially when downloading a file.

During the school break of 2012, somehow I had an Airtel modem from which I usually took out the SIM card whenever there is a long power outage. Airtel was very generous by allowing a lot of free data cheat on their network and I was an active partaker; thanks Airtel, I learnt many things with the free data.

Then again, I somehow got a Glo SIM taking my SIM card tally to three. Call it ‘Network Prostitution’ if you like. This gave me the freedom to switch from one network to another when I was not satisfied.

Multiple SIM Cards!
Multiple SIM Cards? Network Prostitution

So I used MTN for calls and Airtel for data because Airtel was magnanimous to allow other smartphone users buy plans meant for Blackberry devices at cheap rates.

Fast forward to 2014…

During the NYSC service year when I got really sick of MTN and wanted to give Mobile Number Portability a trial, I went straight to Etisalat Head office in Abuja to port my MTN SIM to the Etislat Network; that was sometime in July.

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The porting process was completed in less than 24 hours. Given the fact that one cannot enter the Etisalat office complex, the attendants outside the gate attend to your need and take the forms inside for processing.

In September 2014, I received one of the greatest gift set of that year from Nokia Nigeria; a Nokia Lumia 720, MD 12 Speaker and a power bank. Thank you Nokia, I’m still using the phone. Now I have two phones, despite having an Etisalat line, I used Airtel for data subscription on this phone while I basically use Etisalat for calls.

Gift From Nokia Nigeria
Gift From Nokia Nigeria

After about eight months on the Etisalat network, I decided to move on once again because I was not able to use my line to satisfaction during the general election break in Osogbo. And again, during this period, I used my Glo line for data subscription.

While the announcement of the Presidential election was going on, I was at Glo office somewhere in Osogbo to port from Etisalat to Glo. The porting process was completed in less than 30 minutes. My main line is now on the Glo network and I use only one mobile phone; which is a big relief.

Despite the fact that I already have a Glo line, I made an informed decision because I have been using it for some time; Glo is the only network I have found solace in recent times.

I remember when my line had an internet connectivity issue; I called the dedicated Customer Support line for internet service (444) severally. Each time I called, I got the assurance that the matter had been reported to the technical team. When I tell any of the customer care rep my name, he/she would tell me it’s already on the log.

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Lo and behold, the issue was resolved in due time. I felt great that I am finally on a network that listens to the yearnings of her customer. At this point in time, I have not seen any reason to complain about Glo. Even though it might be other people worst nightmare.

Glo is the only network that will not deduct a kobo from your account balance when your data is exhausted; you have to authorize Glo by sending ‘PAYU’ to 127 to use you credit balance for internet connectivity.

Finally, at the time of writing this, I have a total of 4 active SIM cards; two of which are Glo, with MTN and Airtel being the other two. My ultimate satisfaction with Glo is the slow and generous way in which my data depletes; it is out of this world. Unlike other networks where their data burn rate is as fast as Usain Bolt. Thank you NCC for making this possible in Nigeria even though some people think it is too late! Thank you Glo! Now ‘I rule my world unlimited’.

Ọlájídé Ishola

A tech-savvy Linguist, lazy Writer and conservative Foodie.

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