World Telecom Labs (WTL) will be exhibiting at AfricaCom this week and discussing Text To Change, as well as launching Easy SMS Hubwhich enables operators in Africa to increase revenues from text messages by setting up their own SMS hubs.
Text To Change enables people in Nigeria to text their provider in the first instance to notify their intention to switch to another provider. This text then sparks a string of actions by the old and new provider to transition both the number and the customer’s account.
Established by the Nigerian Communications Commission, the MNP initiative enables people to keep their existing mobile numbers when they switch to a different mobile operator. The ability to port numbers and Text To Change make it more attractive for consumers to switch providers increasing competition and leading to reduced prices and improved service levels.
WTL was appointed by ICN, one of Nigeria’s interconnect exchange carriers which is leading the MNP initiative, to develop the Text To Change service.
ICN’s project leader for MNP, Johnson Farotimi said: “Mobile Number Portability has been a long time coming in Nigeria. It is a large, complex and very high profile initiative which must succeed. Giving Nigerians the ability to request porting via text messages rather than some long-winded, bureaucratic system is one of the founding conditions of the MNP scheme. Ease and convenience for the subscriber are vital to the success of the project.
WTL were brought into the project late in the day but their contribution was enormous. The team at WTL are extremely knowledgeable and without their experience and expertise this project would not have been completed so smoothly”.
ICN is a long-term customer of WTL’s and currently uses its specialist high capacity voice switching equipment. Text To Change messages will pass through ICN’s existing WTL SoIP SS7 Gateway which connects to all the legacy mobile switches used by Nigeria’s principal operators.
Leigh Smith, MD of WTL, said “It is now easier for people in Nigeria to switch carriers than in any other country I have visited. This was a tricky project but our engineers worked hard to develop a system which is reliable. We are always happy to turn our hand to new challenges like this. Text To Change is also available to operators outside Nigeria and should be on the radar of regulators around the world”.