Telcos under pressure to enhance QoS as MNP service gains traction
by Ben Uzor Jr
July 1, 2014 | 12:47 am| | | Start Conversation
Steady growth in the number of subscribers porting in and out of mobile networks, is putting massive pressure on telecommunications companies in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy by GDP, to step up investments in network expansion initiatives, industry insiders have said. Mobile Number Portability (MNP) launched in April 2013 by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), allows telecoms subscribers the freedom to switch networks while retaining their phone numbers. Though, uptake of MNP service seems dull to many, the scheme is gaining traction in terms of usage amongst subscribers, as evidenced in the latest porting status report for March and April 2014. According to the Port-Out Activities of Mobile Network Operators’ (MNOs) report made available by regulator, Glo recorded a total of 11,167 subscribers who ported into the network from other operators in the two months. The figure is made up of 3,212 and 7,955 mobile subscribers who ported into the nation’s national carrier, Globacom from other networks in March and April respectively. Industry analysts are of the view that the above figure is an indication that telecoms users were most comfortable with the services of Globacom. This further explains the movement of most subscribers from other networks to its network.
Only recently, Globacom had embarked on a massive network expansion and technical network upgrade project which has significantly enhanced the quality of customer experience on the network. The expansion project involved network upgrade and overhaul of infrastructure across the country, as well as expansion and densification projects that will on completion cater for its existing and potential subscribers. Globacom’s recent achievement reinforces Ericsson’s finding in a recent industry study.
According to the study, increased levels of investments in network quality and performance create sustainable competitive advantages and improved financial returns for network operators. The study however found that a 10 percent increase in capital expenditure for a Brazilian operator resulted in increased market share, a significant boost to ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) and reduced churn. Given this enhanced commercial performance, telecoms operator should experience a 5.5 percent increase in service revenues, a 6.4 percentage point improvement in EBITDA margin, and a 6.7 percent increase in free cash flow from operations.
Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said telcos are being put under pressure by MNP to invest in network upgrade, which seems to be one of fall-outs of the MNP introduction. India’s Airtel, on the other hand, came second with a total gain of 8,565 for the two months. The company gained 5,749 porting subscribers in March, while 2,816 subscribers joined it from other operators in April. UAE’s Etisalat was next with 3,016 porting subscribers in March, while its April figure was 3,280, making a total of 6,296 new customers from other networks.
Largest operator, MTN, came fourth as its figure for March was 1,780, while that of April was 552, making a total of 2,332 subscribers who ported into the network from other service providers. A total of 14,183 telecom users engaged in porting-out activities across the networks in April, as against the 13,383 recorded in March. Speaking an MNP forum organised by Etisalat recently, Matthew Willsher, chief executive officer of the telecoms company, said “MNP is now very flexible because migration now takes few hours as against maximum of three days we started with at launch,” he further noted that the network is attracting high-profile individuals in the country.
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