Nigeria’s telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has confirmed that mobile number portability (MNP), which enables subscribers to retain their mobile numbers when they change service provider, will be introduced in the second half of the year, IT News Africa reports. According to the NCC’s acting vice-chairman Stephen Bello, the introduction of MNP has become a necessity due to the high number of wireless subscribers in the country, which topped 70 million at the end of 2009. The introduction of MNP was first considered by the NCC in the third quarter of 2007, although an initial consultation paper on its possible introduction was not actually published until February 2009. Earnest Ndukwe, former CEO of NCC, had set May 2009 for the announcement of a timetable for the service, but following complaints from the nation’s GSM operators, which stated that they had not been given enough time to upgrade their facilities to be compliant with MNP, the implementation was delayed. In March 2010 the regulator announced it had ‘commenced the process that would lead to the introduction of MNP’, following approval from the federal government. The watchdog announced that all GSM cellcos were expected to have the relevant infrastructure in place by the end of September 2010.