MOBILE NUMBER PORTABILITY SIDESHOWS

Mobile Number Portability(MNP) has not been the runaway success it was touted to be.Al we have seen so far have been sideshows from major players in the mobile phone industry with the regulator (CCK) acting as an uninterested bystander.The verbal fights have been playing out between Safaricom,Airtel and Porting Access Kenya..

Orange Kenya and Yu the other mobile service providers have been watching from the sidelines as the other two players exchange bitter words over the past 6 weeks since MNP was launched.

A little history a to why these two bitter rivals have been having these exchanges in the media is important.It goes back a long way but the recent spat was sparked off by the recent lowering of interconnection rates.Safaricom and Airtel have been outdoing each other in a bid to woo their rivals customers while maintaining a hold on their current subscriber base.These has seen customer enjoy all manner of freebies from reduced prices on high end phones,to free calls,to doubling of airtime to becoming instant millionaires.The reason this fight is this fierce is because like all business ventures they are ,looking at their bottom line against a backdrop of reduced revenue,increasing and recurring operational costs and a market that has become highly competitive.

None of the companies involved be it Orange Kenya,YU,Airtel or Safaricom can afford to sit back and relax as the battle for subscriber numbers has just started.Each one of them have to come up with innovative ideas and ways to retain their customer base while wooing those from th competition.This should be good news to the customer,but so far the increased competitiveness and customer choice that was envisaged has taken a back seat to the side sows.

What we need to see from all the players is a more transparent approach to portability,full disclosure and not the lies peddled as terms and conditions whenever you are signing up with a service provider.Better customer service,clearer networks,speedier resolution of issues and better incentives are what the customer is looking for.The verbal exchanges we are being treated to daily are just but mere diversionary tactics from the REAL issues.

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