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NCC moves against mobile operators; fines N5m for unsolicited SMS

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NCC moves against mobile operators over unsolicited SMS

The Nigerian Communications Commission [NCC] has moved against Mobile Network Operators [MNO] over unsolicited text messages.

A document from NCC Legal and Regulatory Services Department suggested that move.

It purports that mobile number operators has barred from sending out unsolicited text messages to subscribers.

According to the document, failure by any of the operators to comply with the new directive, will attract a fine of N5m.

It will also attract additional N500,000 per day, for as long as the contravention persists, according to the commission.

The directive will take effect from July 1, 2016.

The document indicted 13 mobile network service providers in the directive. 

The affected operators are MTN, Airtel, Etisalat, Globacom and Visafone.

Others are Smile, Starcomms, Megatech Engineering Limited, Gicell Wireless Limited, Danjay Telecoms, Gamjitel, Multilinks and Natcom.

With the new law on unsolicited messages, licensees are now mandated by the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations, 2007, to conduct telemarketing on the basis of ‘call’ or ‘do not call’ preferences.

It must also be approved by the consumer at the time of entering into a contract for services or after.

The document stated that NCC has confirmed that some MNOs had set up the DND facility on their network.

This it did through its monitoring activities.

However, it lamented that the awareness level by subscribers of the availability of the DND facility on the MNOs network is “very minimal and unsatisfactory.”

It also regrets that subscribers lack the know-how of how to opt in or out of the facility.

It said that the NCC was of the opinion that the degradation of consumer quality experience through unsolicited telemarketing should be curtailed.

This is in line with its regulatory functions of protecting the interest of consumers as provided in Sections 4(1)(b) and 105(1) of the Nigeria Communications Act, 2003.

In the meantime, subscribers with complaints can always reach out to NCC operators via short number 622 for prompt attention.

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