Irked that mobile operators have yet to fully heed its directive to activate the Do-Not-Disturb code to protect subscribers against unsolicited short messages sent by the operators, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) could bare its fangs soon by sanctioning erring operators.
Interestingly, all leading four mobile operators – Airtel, Etisalat, Glo and MTN – are said not to have fully obeyed, as subscribers from all four still inundate the commission with complaints of harassment with SMS from their service providers.
The NCC’s Direction to the operators to activate the 2442 Do Not Disturb Short Code took effect from July 1, 2016.
Now however, two months and a half down the line, the commission, in expressing its frustration and angst that its direction is not being obeyed by the operators, said it is ready to fully enforce the direction “to protect subscribers from the nuisance and irritations of unsolicited text messages and calls from mobile network operators.”
A statement issued in Abuja by the NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo, the commission noted that “in spite of earlier warnings to telecommunication service providers to activate their Do-Not-Disturb facility which gives subscribers the freedom to choose the messages they receive, the Commission is still inundated with complaints by subscribers of continuing text harassment by operators.”
According to Ojobo “the Direction mandates the operators to take immediate action which will allow the subscribers to take informed but independent decisions on what messages to receive from the networks.”
He observed that industry compliance did not seem to have matched the seriousness of the Direction thus, compelling the Commission to issue a final warning to the operators.
“The Direction takes into cognizance the broad range of services, which include: Banking/Insurance/Financial products, Real estate, Education, Health, Consumer Goods and Automobiles, Communication/ Broadcasting/ Entertainment/ IT, Tourism and /Leisure, Sports, Religion (Christianity, Islam, others), and directed the operators to give the necessary instructions and clarifications that will enable subscribers subscribe to a particular service/services/none at all.
“In fact, a Full DND which is SMS ‘STOP’” to 2442 does not allow the subscriber to receive any unsolicited messages from the operators at all,” the statement affirmed.
Ojobo called on the service providers to immediately comply with the Direction as further complaints from subscribers would be taken as serious infractions to a major regulatory intervention by the Commission.
The various options available for the DND are:
“SMS 1” for receiving SMS relating to Banking/Insurance/ Financial Products to 2442
“SMS 2” for receiving SMS relating to Real estate to 2442
SMS 3” for receiving SMS relating to Education to 2442
“SMS 4” for receiving SMS relating to Health to 2442
“SMS 5” for receiving SMS relating to Consumer Goods and Automobiles, to 2442
“SMS 6” for receiving SMS relating to Communication/ Broadcasting/ Entertainment/ IT, to 2442
“SMS 7” for receiving SMS relating to Tourism and Leisure to 2442
“SMS 8” for receiving SMS relating to Sports to 2442
“SMS 9” for receiving SMS relating to Religion to 2442