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Gadgets

MTN Mobile Number Portability – My Experience

sakaAnd so i decided to pay yet another visit to the MTN friendship center located within Ikota Shopping Complex, next door to the high brow Victoria Garden City (VGC) in Ajah. It was with a bit of apprehension.

My first visit did not go too well. I had walked into a fairly sized crowd and the doorman handed me a tally number putting me at the end of the queue of 30 people. I paused for a few seconds and scurried out through the door. No way i was going to spend my lunch break hanging out with the folks in MTN.

It was with this mindset that i approached the friendship center again, with the hope of having my number ported from Globacom to Nigeria’s biggest network, MTN. This time around, I was in for a big shocker. Surprisingly, the place was almost empty with only one person in line! This was too good to be true, there has to be a catch somewhere. And indeed there was.

I was given a form to fill and i fished out my international passport which i presented to the pretty lady behind the counter, who i later got to know as Chinwe. She carefully explained to me that their network systems were down.

What?! How predictable! In my head, i was already composing a very nasty post i would publish about my experience. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Chinwe saved the day.

After explaining to me about the system downtime, she nevertheless took my details down, gave me a “Welcome Back” replacement SIM and I even got to register the SIM. I left the place with a special thank you to her. I had barely arrived back at my destination when i got a call from her. Apparently, their system was up. She asked for a few more details and finally asked me to send the magic word “PORT” to the shortcode 3232. Believe it or not, about 2 hours later when i checked my old SIM it was inactive. I inserted my new MTN SIM and Y’hello, i was locked on to the MTN network.

What a nice lady, Chinwe. That particular friendship center would be seeing my face very soon – as soon as i can think of a reason!

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Gadgets

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!!!