The latest data from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that mobile number portability (MNP) activity is on the rise in the country. That is an indication that a growing number of mobile subscribers in Nigeria are taking advantage of the MNP scheme to switch providers at will to enjoy service variety without much inconveniency.

NBS numbers show that incoming and outgoing MNP activities in 2Q2016 totaled 122,110. Incoming NMP activities were 61,754, suggesting an increase of slightly more than 12.5% compared to the same quarter last year.

On the other hand, outgoing MNP activities in 2Q2016 rose 13.9% over the same quarter last year to 60,356 in the latest quarter.

Nigerian Bureau of Statistics
Nigerian Bureau of Statistics

Nigeria’s march to MNP

Nigeria started implementing mobile number portability in 2013 to a huge sigh of relief for mobile subscribers given the long period of waiting. MNP enables subscribers to switch service providers without losing their phone number. For business customers, the simplicity of shifting providers has eliminated the usual costs of updating business letterheads, cards and advertisement whenever there is a change in network provider.

NMP has increased competition among services providers, thus inspiring innovation that is leading to quality services for the subscribers.

How MNP is impacting Nigerian phone carriers

Etisalat counted for the highest number of incoming porting activities on its network in 2Q2016. Incoming porting activities on the network of Etisalat in 2Q accounted for 57.8% of the industry total.


In contrast, MTN, the leading mobile network in the country, accounted for the least number of incoming porting activities on its network in the quarter. Incoming porting on MTN’s network accounted for 4.67% of the national total. However, the actual number of porters moving to MTN’s network more than doubled between 1Q2016 and 2Q2016, increasing to 2,878 from 1,353 between the quarter. On year-over-year basis, the number of incoming porters increased 31.6%.

On its part, Globacom accounted for 6.29% of incoming porting activities in 2Q. Though the number of actual porters on its network decreased almost 34% between 1Q2016 and 2Q2016. And increased 6.61% between 2Q2016 and 2Q2015.

Incoming porting activities on Airtel’s network were few compared to its rivals in 2Q2016. The carrier registered a 0.03% uptick in the number of incoming porters on its network.

What about outgoing activity?

Globacom registered the largest increase in the number of porters exiting its network. Outgoing porters on Globacom’s network rose 76.4% QoQ and 47% YoY in 2Q2016. Some 12,614 subscribers ported out of Globacom’s network in 2Q2016 compared to 7,152 outgoing porters in 1Q.


Etisalat also recorded a significant increase of outgoing porters at 59.44% QoQ and 28.9% YoY. Outgoing porters on Airtel’s network rose 32.1% QoQ and 26.1% YoY in 2Q2016. However, on MTN’s network, outgoing porters declined 13.3% QoQ and 9.3% YoY.

NMP activity in 2Q2016 did not change the outgoing porting ranking of Nigeria’s four leading carriers.

For providers, porting affects subscriber retention. As such, it puts pressure on network operators to offer competitive services to avoid massive subscriber outflow. But the competition is benefiting subscribers who enjoy competitive voice, text and data rates as carriers undo one another to keep hold of subscribers who migrate to their networks from rival’s network. Click to learn about our community site.

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