NCC approves harmonized shortcodes for telcos

The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has released harmonized shortcodes which would allow users of any mobile network in Nigeria to recharge their accounts, subscribe to mobile data bundles, check account balances and use other services.

The codes include 300, the harmonized code for Call Centre/Help Desk on all mobile networks; 301, voice Mail Deposit; 302, Voice Mail Retrieval; 303, Borrow Services; 305, STOP Service; 310, Balance Check; and 311, Credit Recharge.

312 is now the common code for Data Plan across networks. In line with the new direction, 321 is for Share Services, while 323 is for Data Plan Balance. The code, 996, is now for Verification of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration/NIN-SIM Linkage.

2442 was retained for Do-Not-Disturb unsolicited messaging complaint management, while the common code, 3232, is also retained for Porting Services, otherwise called Mobile Number Portability.

The NCC has directed the mobile network operators to commence the implementation of the approved harmonized codes, with May 17, 2023 being the deadline.

Reuben Muoka, NCC Director of Public Affairs, in a statement said that the new policy concurs with its consumer-centric approach to telecom regulation.

The statement read:

“This means that the code for checking airtime balance is the same across all mobile networks for the same function, irrespective of the network a consumer uses.

“With the new codes, the telecom consumers using the over 226 million active mobile lines in the country, can now use the same codes to access services across the networks.

“The old and new harmonised shortcodes will run concurrently up until May 17, 2023, when all networks are expected to have fully migrated to full implementation of the new codes. The period between now and May 17, 2023 is provided by the NCC to enable telecom consumers to familiarise themselves with the new codes for various services.

“The initiative, which is in line with NCC’s regulatory modernisation programme, is essential to make life much easier for telecom consumers, as it is now easier for Nigerians to memorize single codes for various services across all mobile networks they may be using, thereby improving consumer quality of experience.

“In addition, the new policy will provide an opportunity for licensees in the Value-Added Services 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.”