According to AllAfrica.com citing statistics from the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), just 54,616 mobile subscribers made use of the country’s long-delayed mobile number portability (MNP) scheme during 2011. Further, porting figures also declined notably over the course of the year; when the service was launched in April 2011 15,569 subscribers moved their numbers, followed by 14,759 in May. However, December 2011 saw just 747 subscribers switch network providers, underlining the lack of enthusiasm for the initiative, which took almost six years to be introduced by the CCK. Madhur Taneja, manager of Essar Telecom Kenya (yu) commented: ‘Unfortunately, MNP has not been as hugely successful as was anticipated. It’s a good option for subscribers to have, but we have not seen great uptake as per the high expectations’.
As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate last month, Taneja called on market leader Safaricom to open up its mobile money transfer service M-PESA to other networks, suggesting that Safaricom customers are unwilling to risk losing their access to the mobile banking solution, regardless of their network preferences; he said that the cellco would be willing to pay royalties to Safaricom, the country’s number one operator by subscribers, for the shared use of M-PESA.