The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has directed mobile network operators (MNOs) to implement approved, harmonised shortcodes (HSC) to provide certain services to telecom consumers in Nigeria. This consumer-centric approach aims to achieve uniformity in common short codes across networks and, by May 17, 2023, all mobile networks have been directed to begin to use them in full.
Under the new harmonised short codes regime, 13 common short codes have been approved, including 300 for ‘call centre/help desk’, 310 for ‘check balance’ and 996 for the verification of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) registration/NIN-SIM linkage. The old and new harmonised shortcodes will run concurrently until May 17, 2023, enabling consumers to familiarise themselves with the new codes for various services.
This initiative, which is part of the NCC’s regulatory modernisation programme, is intended to make life easier for telecom consumers by providing a single code for various services across all mobile networks, thereby improving consumer quality of experience (QoE). In addition, the new policy will provide an opportunity for licensees in the value-added services (VAS) segment of the telecoms sector to use freed-up/old codes for other services, as well as enhance the cohesive regulatory framework in keeping with world-class practices.
Overall, the use of harmonised shortcodes will make it easier for over 226 million active mobile line users in Nigeria to access services across networks, including voice mail deposit and retrieval, borrowing services, STOP service, credit recharge, data plan balance and porting services, a statement by the commission’s director of public affairs, Reuben Muoka said.