Mobile Number Portability (MNP), the service that allows subscribers to change mobile service providers but retain their numbers has been gradually growing since inception last year. According to a report released by the Communications Commission of Kenya, the number of subscribers porting their numbers increased by over 4,000 subscribers.
“In April 2011, the Commission introduced the Mobile Number Portability (MNP), a service that allows the consumers the flexibility and the convenience to retain subscribers’ numbers upon switching service providers. The uptake of this service has continued to show mixed signals in the mobile market segment since its inception. During the quarter under review, there were a total of 6,646 in-ports up from 2,407 in-ports recorded during the previous quarter, representing an increase of 176.1%”, reads part of the report.
Despite huge campaigns by some mobile operators to lure subscribers to their networks, many Kenyans were skeptical about the idea due to the conditions and costs that accompanied the switching. A subscriber would be charged Ksh. 200 one off fee when porting from one operator to another and required to be on the new network for at least 30 days before porting again. This resulted to a slow uptake with only about 900 subscribers switching operators in the first two months.
“I think Mobile Number Portability would hurt subscribers who make cross network calls without knowing they are calling, probably, higher rates because the number they are calling does not reveal that,” observed Michael, a local writer.