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How to Change your Mobile Number to Another Network

Mobile Number Portability (MNP) is a system which allows a mobile subscriber to change networks while retaining the same number. So for instance, you can port (i.e. switch) a Safaricom number to the Airtel or Telkom Kenya network without losing your number.

MNP has been active in Kenya since the year 2011 when it went live however it has been rocked with controversies and technical glitches that made the process frustrating for interested subscribers.

Nevertheless, the system is still active years later and the good news is that most of the technical problems experienced initially are now far less common. That said, to ensure a smooth and successful porting it is essential that subscribers follow the porting process carefully as we outline below.

What to Do Before Porting

Before initiating a porting request make sure you do the following first:

  1. Use up your airtime, bundles or any other packages you may have, otherwise they will be forfeited on porting.
  2. Redeem or transfer any loyalty points you may have accrued from your current operator, i.e.
  3. Clear any outstanding advance credit that the number might have. Failure to do this will cause the porting request to fail. The services include:
    • Okoa Jahazi on Safaricom
    • Kopa Credo on Airtel Kenya
    • PEWA on Telkom Kenya
  4. Settle any bills you may have from the operator if you’re using a post-paid tariff
  5. Withdraw all the cash that you may have in your mobile money account i.e. M-PESA, Airtel Money or T-Kash.
  6. Backup any contacts or messages that are stored in the SIM Card that you’d wish to keep.

How to Port Your Number

Once you’ve done the above, you can proceed to make the porting request as follows:

  1. First visit a shop of the network you wish to switch your number to e.g. an Airtel Shop if you’re switching your Safaricom or Telkom Number to Airtel.
  2. At one of the shop agents, make the porting request and you’ll be given an MNP form to fill.
  3. Provide your National ID for registration. You can alternatively provide any of the following documents:
    • Valid Passport
    • Military identity card
    • Work Permit
    • Alien card
    • Valid driving license
    • National ID card issued by parent country
  4. Buy a new SIM Card that will retain your number.
  5. Send an SMS with the word HAMA to the number 1501 on your old line.
  6. Wait to receive a confirmation SMS on a successful move. If the request is not successful, contact the mobile operator you are switching to for assistance.

The moving process is however not immediate and may take up to two working days not counting the weekend or public holidays. As such plan accordingly to avoid inconveniences when porting your number.

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Kelvin Kathia

Kelvin Kathia is the editor of Kenyan Fix, an informational blog that helps Kenyans with solutions to everyday questions on mobile networks, government services and banking.