The Commission yesterday 12th April 2011 convened a meeting of the Technical, Process and Legal Working Groups of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) to review the progress of the exercise that begun about two weeks ago. The meeting also came in the wake of receipt of complaints from some porting subscribers who had failed to switch over to their preferred network smoothly. The main objective of the meeting was to resolve the disputes with a view to ensuring that mobile subscribers enjoy seamless service as they exercise their right of choice. All mobile operators including M/s Porting Access Kenya (i.e. the Porting Service Provider) attended the meeting.
The following are the main issues discussed and agreed on in yesterday’s meeting:
1. Technical hitches: It was reported that some networks have been experiencing some technical glitches in implementing Mobile Number Portability (MNP), leading to overshooting of the agreed porting timelines and unsatisfactory customer experience. As a result of the technical challenges, some ported numbers were not accessible in the recipient networks, resulting in non-seamless customer experience.
Assurances were given that the causes of the glitches had been identified and to a large extent resolved, and that the pending ones would be sorted out by the end of today (13th April 2011).
2. Inadequate knowledge on the part of operators’ customer care representatives:
It was acknowledged that some customer care representatives of the mobile operators are not fully conversant with the porting procedures. This has resulted in misinformation of porting subscribers at the mobile operator customer outlets, which in some instances has in turn led to abortion of porting requests. Operators reported that they had already put in place measures to address this problem. It was agreed that mobile operators would ensure that their customer care representatives were well versed with the porting procedures.
3. Creation of a single point of contact:
It was noted that the prevailing multiple points of contact of the technical teams in the various mobile networks was hampering speedy resolution of technical challenges, leading to frustrating delays and fuelling distrust. To address this concern, the four mobile operators exchanged names of the first point of contact in their respective technical teams.
4. Need for good faith and mutual trust:
The importance of acting in good faith and maintaining mutual trust was acknowledged and underscored. The mobile operators resolved to avoid unnecessary suspicion and misunderstanding, and agreed to cooperate to ensure that Mobile Number Portability is implemented to the letter.
5. Strict adherence to the MNP implementation framework
The meeting resolved on the need to strictly follow the implementation framework, both regulatory and contractual, of MNP in order to avoid unethical practices and blatant violation of MNP guidelines and licence conditions. In this regard, it was resolved that all mobile service providers would observe provisions relating to:
- Prohibition of attempts to win back customers at the point of porting or to prevent them from porting out
- Full disclosure of the terms and conditions as well as implications of porting to the customer
- Strict adherence to timelines provided for in the MNP implementation framework
- Consumer information on the step by step porting procedures.
On account of the success realized during the meeting, the Commission has deferred the CEOs’ meeting scheduled to be held this afternoon to provide industry players with time to implement the resolutions agreed upon in yesterday’s meeting. When convened, the CEOs’ meeting shall review the progress made in implementing MNP in the context of resolutions agreed on in yesterday’s meeting.
Furthermore, I wish to confirm that there has not been any sabotage among operators in the implementation of MNP as has been reported in sections of the media. I would like to assure Kenyans that most of the technical glitches are now under control and we shall continue monitoring progress to ensure that deadlines are met. As at this morning, the existing backlog of porting requests had been cleared.
I also wish to correct the wrong perception that the success of MNP is only seen in the number of subscribers crossing between networks. The real success of MNP is the freedom of choice and flexibility that it offers to subscribers in being able to change service providers without any inhibition of any nature. Since inception of the service, more than 8,000 subscribers have made porting requests (this figure covers up to today morning).
Charles J.K. Njoroge, EBS