MTN, 12 Telcos Face N5m Fine Over Unsolicited SMS, Calls

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 Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is set to address complaints of subscribers who have been inundated with unsolicited telemarketing, short message service (SMS) and voice calls by mobile network operators with a warning that it shall fine any operator found culpable with a fine N5 million and N500,000 daily as long as the contravention persists.

LEADERSHIP Sunday learnt that the Commission in a ‘New Direction,’ issued to 13 mobile operators by the legal and regulatory department of NCC, plans to sanction any network that refuses to implement it on or before June 30, 2016, the shortcode of 2442 for subscribers to opt-in to the “Do Not Disturb” (DND) database restricting unsolicited marketing messages.

NCC in a letter dated April 19, 2016 warned MTN, Airtel, Globacom, Etisalat, Smile, Natcoms (Ntel), Visafone, Starcomms, Multilinks, Gamjitel, Danjay Telecoms, Gicell Wireless Ltd and Megatech Engineering Ltd that they should implement the DND restricting telemarketing their MSISDNs including the use of web-based solutions as opt-out measures.

The regulator said it shall be mandatory for mobile operators to create sufficient awareness to its subscribers on the existence of the DND on their networks; that they shall also comply with the quarterly and reporting template prescribed by the NCC to ensure feedback and compliance.

NCC warned operators that generated SMS shall comply with the 8am to 8pm stipulation (12 hour period) for sending SMS to subscribers and that the opt-in process shall be free. It said operated generated SMS is excluded from the DND list in as much as such messages are in conformity with NCC’s directive on timing and regularity and do not constitute a nuisance to subscribers and the subscribers shall have right to partial or full DND implementation.

NCC said the ‘New Direction’ issued pursuant to Section 53 of the Nigerian Communications Act follows the inundation of complaints by subscribers to its office about menace of unsolicited text messages and voice calls from mobile operators which have impacted negatively on consumer quality service in the telecom industry.

NCC said it was aware through its monitoring activities that some operators have set up DND facility on their network but the awareness by subscribers of the facility is very minimal and unsatisfactory. The menace of unsolicited texts and calls led NCC a fortnight ago to regulate the Value Added Services (VAS) market with the issuance of draft regulation.

Meanwhile, Wireless Application Service Providers of Nigeria Ltd (WASPAN) said every month all operators shall broadcast how to get on the DND portal to their subscribers. At the end of each quarter, subscribers will be required to renew their DND status by sending ‘STOP’ to short codes on the network.

Source : Leadership.ng

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