The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has introduced a new numbering scheme with a”02” prefix for fixed telephone lines in Nigeria. According to the telecommunications regulatory body, these fixed lines, primarily utilized by businesses, will now incorporate the “02” prefix before their original numbers.
The NCC, in a statement released on Wednesday, stated that this adjustment aligns with its responsibilities outlined in the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) of 2003, which governs the management of numbering resources in Nigeria.
This alteration means that Nigeria’s Fixed-Lines Numbering Format has transitioned from eight digits to ten digits simply by adding the “02” prefix before the existing fixed numbers. The Commission has further clarified that existing numbers will remain operational until December 31, 2023.
Starting on January 1, 2024, only the newly introduced numbering format, which begins with the “02” prefix, will be in operation and implemented across all networks.
The updated numbering system by NCC
In a statement made by Reuben Muoka, the Director of Public Affairs at the NCC, examples were provided to illustrate how the new numbers will be structured starting from January 2024:
Under the new arrangement, to call a previously existing number like 09461700, you will need to dial 02094617000. Similarly, for current number formats in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kano, which are 014630643, 094630643, 084460643, and 064460643 respectively, the new numbering format will be 02014630643, 02094630643, 02084460643, and 02064460643.
Additionally, this change exclusively impacts Fixed Telephone Numbers. That is there are no alterations to the existing mobile numbering format.
“However, it is important to note that the change only affects the Fixed Telephone Numbers. There is NO CHANGE to the existing mobile numbering format.” Reuben remarked.
Speaking of this change, the Commission stated that this announcement was to fulfill a significant obligation of the NCC and align with the conventions followed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a branch of the United Nations overseeing Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
Importance of NCC’s fixed lines for businesses in Nigeria
Fixed lines hold significant importance for businesses in Nigeria for several reasons. To start with, they provide a reliable and stable communication infrastructure that is crucial for daily operations. Unlike mobile networks that can experience signal fluctuations, fixed lines offer consistent call quality and connectivity, ensuring that important business conversations are clear and uninterrupted.
Secondly, fixed lines often come with features and services tailored to meet business needs. These can include call forwarding, voicemail, conference calling, and direct inward dialing (DID) numbers. These features enhance productivity and efficiency by allowing businesses to manage their communications effectively.
Moreover, fixed lines offer a professional image for businesses. Having a dedicated landline number gives an impression of stability and permanence, which can instill trust and confidence in customers and partners. It also helps differentiate between personal and business communications, maintaining professionalism.
Another key advantage is that fixed lines are less susceptible to issues like theft or loss of the device, which can disrupt business operations when relying solely on mobile phones. This added security and continuity make fixed lines a valuable asset for businesses.
Furthermore, fixed lines are often used for dedicated services such as fax machines, point-of-sale terminals, and security systems. These specialized functions are critical for certain industries, including retail, finance, and healthcare.
Fixed lines, although less commonly used compared to mobile phones in Nigeria, hold significant importance for businesses. This is why many organizations maintain these fixed business lines.
Notably, among the mobile network operators in Nigeria, MTN and Glo offer this service, along with other specialized operators such as iPNX and 21st Century.
According to the NCC’s data as of July this year, there were a total of 96,771 actively connected fixed lines in the country. Remarkably, the 21st Century is the dominant player in this sector, representing 88% of the total active connections.
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