Telecommunications operators in Nigeria have begun the implementation of harmonized shortcodes for their services. This is in line with the regulatory modernization initiative by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to ensure that shortcodes are uniform across all networks. 

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) disclosed this in a statement released on Tuesday.  

The harmonization of shortcodes is aimed at implementing a streamlined process for common shortcodes across the industry, by making life easier for Nigerians through the memorization of single codes, for various services across all networks as well as providing a cohesive regulatory framework that is consistent with global best practices. 

NCC’s directive: Announcing the commencement of the implementation the umbrella body of the telecom operators stated: 

  • “Following the directive from NCC, the Association hereby inform the general public that the Network Operators have begun implementing the shortcodes, working closely with the NCC. The Commission has provided adequate time for subscribers to get AL 

ALTON noted that during migration which is to be concluded by 17th May 2023, old and new common codes will run concurrently, after which the old codes will cease to operate. 

The harmonized shortcodes: The proposed harmonized shortcodes are: 

  • Call Center/Help Desk – 300 
  • Voice Mail Deposit – 301 
  • Voice Mail Retrieval -302   
  • Borrow Services – 303 
  • STOP Services – 304 
  • Check Balance – 310 
  • Credit Recharge – 311 
  • Data Plan – 312 
  • Shared Services – 321   
  • Data Plan Balance – 323 
  • Verification of SIM Registration/ NIN – SIM Linkage – 996 
  • Porting Services (MNP) – 2442 

What you should know: Until now, each telecom operator has its unique code for checking balance, recharging, borrowing credit, etc. These require a telecom subscriber with more than one line to memorize the different codes for the respective operators.  

However, the harmonization of shortcodes entails making the common shortcodes utilized by customers to be uniform across all networks. For instance, the code for recharging a line can be used across all mobile networks for the same function.