NCC threatens to sanction MTN, other networks over unsolicited telemarketing messages

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given telecom operators one week ultimatum to comply with the directive of ‘Do Not Disturb’ (DND), issued by the body on April 20th, 2016, to address unwanted messages received by subscribers or face sanction.

According to a statement released today in Abuja by the Director of Public Affairs of the commission, Mr Tony Ojobo; NCC had written to all 13 networks providers in Nigeria, on whose networks the body had received series of complaints from subscribers regarding adherence to the ‘Do Not Disturb’ (DND) service rule issued to them by NCC.

Tony Ojobo said;

“The commission has engaged mobile network operators on this subject. 13 network operators risk severe sanctions by the commission. The network operators are Airtel Network Ltd., MTN Nigeria, Globacom Nigeria, Smile Communication, Visafone Comm unications, Ntel, Etisalat, Multi links, Starcomms, Danjay Telecoms, Gamjitel Ltd. and Gicell wireless. They are however given another one-week ultimatum from Monday, Nov. 14, to remedy the situation or face the sanctions enshrined in the directive. Worried by the non-compliance by the operators occasioned by deluge of complaints by subscribers across Nigeria, the NCC inaugurated an eight-member committee to look into the matter. After several meetings, including those it held with the network providers, it became necessary to issue the latest ultimatum to redress the menace of incessant unsolicited text messages and phone calls for telemarketing via the various networks. With respect to only information on emergencies for example, national security, fire notifications on network maintenance programmes down times and notification regarding subscribers bundle usage and service renewals. Other text messages and voice calls informing subscribers of new products and service offerings are not regarded as network generated and therefore regarded as “unsolicited marketing messages. The NCC has therefore asked these network providers to ensure that information on the Do Not Disturb service should be disseminated after every revenue generating activity via the End of Call Notification (EOCN) for the period not less than 45 days within the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily from the receipt of the latest letter on the subject. The operators are also admonished to deploy this information through all their channels of communications, including websites, social media platforms, bill boards, flash messages, text messages, Interactive Voice Response platform, radio jingles, newspapers advertisements and television commercials.”

Ojobo said that this notice served as a pre-enforcement notice and failure to comply with the directives in furtherance of the direction of April 20 within seven days from Nov. 14, 2016 shall result in the imposition of appropriate sanctions, adding that the menace of unsolicited text messages that find their ways into subscribers phones have been a nightmare to millions of subscribers and the commission would no longer accept any excuses whatsoever from the network providers, henceforth.


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