Nigeria is serviced by a number of telcos including such frontline leaders in the sector as Mobile Telephone Network (MTN) Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria, Globacom Nigeria, and 9Mobile Nigeria.
Each of these telcos has a string of shortcodes for performing various online transactions through their networks.
The following are sample shortcodes from the frontline telcos:
In view of these shortcodes being too numerous for subscribers to deal with, telecommunications operators have commenced the harmonisation of shortcodes across all networks.
The announcement which was made yesterday in Lagos by the umbrella body, the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said the harmonisation was pursuant to a regulatory modernization initiative by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
ALTON Chairman and Head of Operations, Gbenga Adebayo and Gbolahan Awonuga respectively, in a statement, said the harmonization of shortcodes is aimed at implementing a streamlined process for standard shortcodes across the industry, by making life easier for Nigerians through the memorization of single codes for various services across all networks, as well as providing a cohesive regulatory framework that is consistent with global best practices.
Following the directive from NCC, the Association informed the general public: “The Network Operators have begun implementing the shortcodes, working closely with the NCC.
"The Commission has provided adequate time for subscribers to get used to this new development.
"We are confident this will enhance the customer experience across networks.”
ALTON said during migration (which is to be concluded by May 17, 2023, old and new common codes will run concurrently, after which the old codes will cease to operate.
The body listed the proposed harmonized shortcodes to include: Call Center/Help Desk – 300; Voice Mail Deposit – 301; Voice Mail Retrieval -302; Borrow Services – 303; STOP Services – 304; Check Balance – 310; Credit Recharge – 311; Data Plan – 312; Share Services – 321; Data Plan Balance – 323; Verification of SIM Registration/ NIN – SIM Linkage – 996 and Porting Services (MNP) – 2442.
Explaining further, ALTON said the harmonization of shortcodes entails making the common shortcodes utilized by customers to be uniform across all networks.
For instance, the code for recharging a line can be used across all mobile networks for the same function.
The body said there is no need for a special code to activate the shortcodes.
On whether respective network codes automatically become inactive, the telecoms sector umbrella body said both shortcodes would run concurrently for one year after which the old codes will become inactive.
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