The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has directed all mobile network operators (MNOs) to commence the implementation of the approved harmonized shortcodes (HSCs) in order to provide specific services to telecom customers.
The new policy is said to align with the commission’s consumer-centric approach to telecom regulation, according to a statement by Reuben Muoka, NCC’s director of public affairs.
NCC said the shortcodes include 300, to be used as the harmonized code for call center/help desk on all mobile networks; 301 for voice mail deposit; 302 for voice mail retrieval.
According to NCC, here are some of the shortcodes
- 303 for borrow services;
- 305 for stop service;
- 310 for check balance;
- 311 for credit recharge.
- 312 for data plans
- 321 for shared services
- 323 for data plan balance
The NCC had in June 2017 engaged Molcom Multi Concepts Limited as a project consultant, to harmonize all shortcodes in the industry and develop a “national short code plan (NSCP)” for the industry.
Nine months after, the NCC released a report on how it aimed to achieve uniform shortcodes, after an extensive survey conducted by the project consultant. That report became the foundation for the harmonized short code policy.
Short codes are numbers shorter than full numbers which can be used to address wireless short message service (SMS), multimedia messaging services (MMS), as well as voice services from mobile phones or fixed lines.
With the use of harmonized shortcodes, telecom consumers would no longer need to memorize different shortcodes for the different networks. A single shortcode will serve the purpose.
“In addition, the new policy will provide opportunity for licensees in the value-added services (VAS) segment of the telecoms sector to be able to use freed-up/old codes for other services, as well as enhance cohesive regulatory framework in keeping with world-class practices,” NCC said.
Ikechukwu Nnamani, president of the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said the introduction of HSC will impact the sector positively, adding that the initiative has been in place in countries like Ghana for many years.