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Number Portability Exposes Interesting Movements
Posted on: 02-Aug-2012         Source: Daily Graphic
The National Communications Authority (NCA) of Ghana recently released results of the market share of the various mobile operators in the country for the month of May. Charles Benoni Okine looks at how how the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) implementation has impacted on subscribers.

The market of two of the country’s mobile telecom giants, MTN and tiGO, has dropped marginally as per industry statistics released by the regulator, National Communications Authority (NCA), for the month of May, this year.

Although MTN was able to increase its subscriber base from 10,518,581 in April 2012 to 10,644,804, in May the same year, its market share dipped slightly from 48 per cent to 47 per cent.

tiGO which has been losing its subscriber base for more than six months now maintained its third spot with 3,457,427 subscribers, representing 15 per cent market share as against its April figure of 3,568,094 which represented 16 per cent.

It is imperative to note that the total subscriber base for the month of April as per the NCA stood at 21,805,590 while that of May was at 22,453,907.

Glo Mobile Ghana which entered the market after its three year stay outside the market because of its inability to launch its commercial service, managed some two per cent of the market just after one month’s operation.

It is, however, not clear whether the marginal loses from MTN and tiGO is the reason for Glo’s success.

However, there are some who believe that the forceful entry of Glo is an indication of what might happen to the rest of the players in the industry as far as their market share is concerned.

Glo has been aggressive with its campaign to draw more people to its fold but the other five including MTN and tiGO have also intensified their effort to ensure that Glo’s threat becomes a nine day wonder.

Meanwhile, Glo has a target to register more than one million subscribers in the first 100 days of its operations and with 60 more days to go before that, it is clear from the figures that, it might exceed its target.

It is also imperative to note that Glo’s 468,508 subscribers in just one month is about three times the subscribers of the only CDMA network, Expresso, which finished the period with 195,670 representing one per cent market share.

In a related development, Vodafone which market share has been increasing consistently in the last 12 months consolidated it second position.

From 4,576,384 subscribers at the end of April, the company closed the month of May with 4,671,999 subscribers, representing 21 per cent of the total market share.

Airtel which is gunning to topple tiGO finished the period with 3,015,499 subscribers, representing 14 per cent of the total market share.

In April, the company had a subscriber base of 2,938,108 which was still 14 per cent of the market.

Expresso had reversed it falling spree in the first quarter, but dipped again this time round to 195,670 subscribers, representing one per cent market share. Its April figure was 204,423.

Meanwhile, some of the telecom companies have challenged the results of the NCA saying that the numbers are expected to be picked every 90 days and, therefore, the monthly releases by the regulator does not give the accurate reflection of the situation on the ground.

Under normal circumstances, a Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) is deemed inactive only when it remains idle (that is, no calls or messages in or out) for 90 days.

But the NCA Boss, Mr Paarock VanPercy, in an interview on an Accra based radio station refuted the claim and explained that the NCA is aware of the process and was following it accordingly to ensure that the results released are up to date and reflective of the situation on the ground.

Standings from the MNP
The Mobile Number Portability (MNP) which allows for the smooth movement of mobile numbers which was introduced by the National Communications Authority (NCA) has enhanced competition within the sector and has put players on their toes as far service quality is concerned.

One year on, the NCA reports 370,107 mobile numbers migrated between networks during the period under review.

Interestingly, although tiGO seem to be losing grounds as far as its market share is concerned, the MNP balance sheet indicates that the company led the pack with about 68,000 ports into its network while Vodafone managed some 43,000.

The latest entrant into the market, Glo also gained 7,500, an indication of the eagerness of many existing subscribers to shun their networks to give Glo a try.

Airtel which has also been very consistent with its move to survive the scare from its competitors gained 6,800 while Expresso lost 418.

MTN, however, lost a whopping 125,000 subscribers, for obvious reasons although the company firmly holds on to its lead in the industry having the highest number of subscribers in the country.