The Nigerian communication industry regulator, the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) late Tuesday released a list of harmonized shortcodes for mobile networks in the country.
This implies that all network providers will be using the same short codes for the same service. That is customers of MTN, Airtel, 9mobile, and Glo mobile networks will access the services of their individual network providers with the same short codes.
According to the regulator, the new codes are 300 to be used as the unified code for call center/help desk across all mobile networks; 301 for voice mail deposit; 302 for voice mail retrieval; 303 for borrow services; 305 for STOP service; 310 for check balance, and 311 for credit recharge.
Also, the code for data plan across networks is now 312, 321 is for share services, 323 is for data plan balance while 996 is the unified code for the verification of Subscriber Identity Module Registration/NIN-SIM Linkage.
A telecommunications expert, Ajibola Olude, told The PUNCH, that the new codes are designed to help make telecommunication services easier and less burdensome for both the users and the network providers. He stated that the new harmonized short codes adopted by the NCC were a welcome development in the telecoms industry adding that this had been the global practice.
He explained that this means that “you have unified numbers irrespective of your network provider.
“For instance, if I want to recharge my phone instead of using the short code for MTN, for example, only, it will no longer be like that. Whatever number I’m using on MTN will be the same exact number for other networks.
The objective was just to reduce the burden so that irrespective of the network you are using, you can easily use one short code to do whatever you want to do.
Olude further said harmonization would particularly be of great benefit to people with multiple numbers and older people who also use various network providers and can barely commit to memory the short code needed for any transaction they may have to do on the various networks.
“The whole essence is just to have it unified. The short code for each service you want is now the same, there’s no need to say because I am on MTN I must use this number, if I am using Airtel, I must use another number. The era of that has passed,” the telecoms expert said.
Speaking on how this could also impact the network providers also, he said, “For the telecoms, it gives them good customer experience. It makes service through short code easier for them too.”
The NCC gave May 17, 2023 as the deadline for mobile network operators to implement the approved short codes. However, the unified numbers and the existing short codes for each network number will run concurrently till a year when they will be phased out.