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NCC highlights updated Guidelines on Short Codes Operations for telecoms consumers

*The Nigerian Communications Commission explains the Harmonised Common Short Codes are short code numbers that are ‘the same across all Mobile Network Operators for providing similar services’ to consumers in the telecoms ecosystem in the country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As part of its consumer education and sensitisation initiatives, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), again, has released the guidelines and directed all Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to implement the approved Harmonised Short Codes (HSCs) when providing specific services to telecoms consumers.

The telecoms sector  regulatory Commission, in the updated document titled, “Guidelines On Short Code Operations In Nigeria 2023”, and released August 23 this year, explains the new policy is in line with its consumer-centric approach to telecoms regulation.

Source: NCC

ConsumerConnect reports the NCC in the Explanatory Notes, explains the Harmonised Common Short Codes as follows:

  1. Short Codes are numbers shorter than full numbers, which can be used to address wireless Short Messaging Service (SMS) and Multi-Media Messaging Service (MMS) messages and Voice Services from mobile phones or fixed lines.
  2. The Numbers are specifically designed to be shorter and easier to remember than normal telephone numbers.

The numbers are at different technological levels, unique to each Operator.

  1. Common Short Codes are short code numbers that are the same across all Mobile Network Operators for providing similar services.
  2. The Common Short Codes has its unique characteristics; a. b. c. d. While normal telephone numbers (following the E.164 standard) form a prefix code, no numeral used as telephone numbers acts simultaneously as the prefix of another, since conventional landline phones numbers are sent all at once, so the network knows the end of the dialled number.

On a landline phone, one could not use the shortcode 12345, since one could not dial the number 1 234 567 8901 or 1 234 500 0000, or any number that shared the prefix 12345, but on a mobile phone, there is no such ambiguity.

The Short Codes function through the End Users, Carriers, Connection, Application Developers and Content Service Providers.

End Users are people or an entity that use Short Codes for Communication with Application; the carriers provide the Network infrastructure for the delivery of messages between end users and connection Aggregators.

Connection Aggregators provide connectivity between Carrier Networks and Content Service Providers, Content Service Providers provide the technology platform for Short Code service applications and Application Developers often license content to Content Service Providers for delivery to end users.

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