Chicken have come home to roost. We alerted you to the fact that some of the operators were sounding the sabotage alarms over the Mobile Number Portability. Airtel’s MD Rene Meza went out full blast on Safaricom today and complained that subscribers were not being deactivated by Safaricom after application to port. And in a very quick rejoinder, Safaricom is complaining over serious unethical competitor behavior by Airtel in the implementation of mobile number portability and is looking for the intervention of CCK.
We are just into the 11th day of the implementation of MNP an Safaricom says that the process has been “beset by a number of breaches by a section of the competition: mis-information of subscribers, circumvention of the porting process and documentation as set out by Communications Commission of Kenya and agreed to by all operators and deliberate delays in processing applications by subscribers porting into Safaricom”.
Safaricom’s Director of Corporate Affairs Nzioka Waita says “MNP can only succeed in an environment of mutual co-operation, good faith and honesty.”
Mr Nzioka cited a number of breaches being committed by a competitor in the ongoing implementation of MNP.
Non-disclosure of implications of porting: Subscribers are not being told the implications of porting, including loss of services provided by the previous provider. Those porting out of Safaricom, for instance, should understand that they will lose all Safaricom services like M-PESA, Bonga points, Okoa Jahazi, Sambaza and Data services, among others. Safaricom has received several requests to “cool off” (port back) from customers that have ported or are in the process of porting to Airtel. Majority allege that they have not been given any information on porting or its implications by Airtel representatives. This is in contravention of the MNP Guidelines that impose an obligation on the Recipient Operator to explain porting implications.
Mis-information: Airtel communication can be perceived as deliberately intending to deceive. For instance, the procedure listed on one of its websites (http://www.nikuhama.com/steps-to-move.aspx) advises customers to send the SMS “Hama” or “Port” without first visiting its retail outlet or having the implication of porting explained.
Use of wrong form: Airtel has departed from the Standard Form agreed to by all operators and annexed in the MNP Guidelines. Particularly, the customer declaration section (where a customer declares that he/she has understood the specific implications of porting) has been omitted. (Both the Standard and Airtel porting request forms are attached for ease of reference.)
What Airtel is Giving Porting Clients to Fill
Delays in processing porting requests into Safaricom/Technical deviation: Airtel has failed to comply with the porting window of 2 working days as agreed by all operators and CCK with respect to Airtel-to-Safaricom port out requests, resulting in delays of up to 5 days.
“We appeal to the CCK, Porting Access and all operators to ensure that the MNP guidelines as set out by the regulator and agreed by all operators are strictly adhered to. This is the only way this protocol can be of benefit to the Kenyan subscriber. The market should understand that porting is a serious decision by a subscriber and should be treated as such by all operators. It can never be a casual decision, based on incomplete information and done by the roadside at the instigation of commission-hungry agents,” added Mr Waita.
Safaricom is not stating if they did or did not refuse to deactivate subscribers who wish to port to Airtel. Airtel has been running adverts which taunts Safaricom and its subscribers It would be interesting to see how this ends but it sure will be a long one.