The desire of mobile telecommunication companies in Ghana to increase their subscriber base through the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) project is secretly breeding an unhealthy system of competition, leaving mobile phone users at a monetary loss.
Business Day checks have shown that agents of some of the telcos in the country move around in the rural areas convincing mobile phone users of a new system that allows a single SIM to operate on two networks at the same time; an assertion that is contrary to the aim of the MNP project.
After the porting, a subscriber then realizes he or she cannot use the initial network even though the number is maintained.
These activities have resulted in many unsuspecting mobile phone users losing money and contacts since the system scraps off all data and airtime on the SIM once the porting process is done.
Confirming the development to the Business Day, Senior Manager, in charge of Regulatory and Administration at the National Communication Authority (NCA), Mr. Yaw Boamah Baafi, said that the act has resulted in many Ghanaians losing a substantial amount of money.
Mr. Baafi explained that most of the agents who work for the telcos do so on commission bases, hence, the temptation to port many customers as possible to make money.
?These agents move to the villages where they lie to the customers and defraud them by telling them they can recharge and operate on two different networks at the same time?, he said.
Describing it as the major challenge facing the MNP project, Mr. Baafi maintained that the act is illegal and criminal since it leaves the subscriber worse off.
According to him, this unorthodox mode of deceiving the public has even caused a misunderstanding between the telcos, resulting in a quick move to reverse the situation.
?The whole system got very bad and we have to quickly step in to regulate the system and bring sanity into the project?, he said, adding that some network operators have been severely warned to desist from the practice.
?If you want to port me from network ?A? to network ?B? I think you have to give me all the details on what I will lose and what I will benefit. Deceiving me to port is against the ethics?, he stressed.
As part of measures put in place to nib it in the bud, Mr. Baafi stated that the NCA has directed the telcos to give codes to all their agents in order for the authority to track their activities.
He recalled some instances where some mobile operators were directed to deactivate some customers after complaints were launched that they were ported without their consent.
He cautioned that, it was a serious offence to port a customer without the consent of the person since the act could lead to loss of valuable data and information.
He was of the view that it is disheartening for the telcos to engage in such acts, particularly, when the project has chalked many successes since its inception.
He announced that 2.6 million Ghanaians have ported so far across various networks with many countries on the continent sending delegations to learn from Ghana.