The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has unveiled a new numbering scheme, featuring a “02” prefix for fixed telephone lines in Nigeria. The NCC, as the telecommunications regulatory authority, has mandated the addition of the “02” prefix to existing fixed line numbers primarily utilized by businesses. This change aligns with the NCC’s responsibilities under the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) of 2003, governing numbering resource management.
This modification transforms Nigeria’s Fixed-Lines Numbering Format from eight to ten digits, with existing numbers remaining operational until December 31, 2023. Starting on January 1, 2024, the “02” prefixed format will be the exclusive numbering system across all networks.
Enhanced Numbering System by NCC
Reuben Muoka, Director of Public Affairs at the NCC, provided examples of the new numbering format set to take effect in January 2024. For instance, to call a previous number like 09461700, you will dial 02094617000. Similarly, for numbers in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kano (014630643, 094630643, 084460643, and 064460643), the new format will be 02014630643, 02094630643, 02084460643, and 02064460643, respectively.
Importantly, this change exclusively affects Fixed Telephone Numbers, leaving the existing mobile numbering format untouched.
The NCC’s decision aligns with international conventions, specifically those of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations body overseeing Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
Significance of Fixed Lines for Businesses in Nigeria
Fixed telephone lines hold immense importance for Nigerian businesses due to their reliability, stability, and tailored features. They provide a consistent and uninterrupted communication infrastructure, crucial for daily operations compared to mobile networks with signal fluctuations.
Furthermore, fixed lines offer features like call forwarding, voicemail, conference calling, and direct inward dialing (DID) numbers, enhancing productivity and efficiency.
Having a dedicated landline number portrays professionalism, instilling trust and confidence in customers and partners. It also separates personal and business communications.
Fixed lines are less susceptible to device loss or theft, ensuring uninterrupted business operations. They are essential for dedicated services like fax machines, point-of-sale terminals, and security systems in various industries.
Although mobile phones are more common, fixed lines play a vital role in business operations. As of July this year, there were 96,771 actively connected fixed lines in Nigeria, with the dominant player being the 21st Century, representing 88% of the total active connections, alongside MTN, Glo, iPNX, and other specialized operators.
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