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Nigeria issues ‘final warning’ on spam SMS

Nigeria issues ‘final warning’ on spam SMS
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The Nigerian government has issued a final warning that it will no longer tolerate sending of unsolicited SMS to phone subscribers in the country.

According to the telecoms industry watchdog, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), telecoms operators can no longer disobey its directive against sending unsolicited text messages to subscribers.

NCC has earlier announced that operators, will from July 1, 2016, activate the DO NOT DISTURB feature that gives subscribers the option to choose what messages to receive from the various networks.

The telecoms watchdog has that it has since July 1, 2016, activated the enforcement option for this particular directive and expected that the operators would, “as a matter of urgency, comply immediately.”

Mr. Tony Ojobo, Director, Public Affairs, NCC in a statement made available to Technology Times said that in spite of earlier warnings to telecoms service providers to activate their Do-Not-Disturb facility, “the Commission is still inundated with complaints by subscribers of continuing text harassment by operators.”

Mr Tony Ojobo Director of Public Affairs at NCC speaks at the event
Worried about low compliance by operators…Mr Tony Ojobo Director of Public Affairs at NCC

According to the NCC Director, ”this development has moved the Commission to reiterate its readiness to protect subscribers from the nuisance and irritations of unsolicited text messages and calls from mobile network operators.

”The Direction NCC issued to industry operators to activate the 2442 Do Not Disturb Short Code took effect from July 1, 2016 . 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.”

The industry compliance does not seem to have matched the seriousness of the Direction thus, compelling the Commission to issue a final warning to the operators, according to Ojobo.

He said that 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),

NCC has directed the operators to give the necessary instructions and clarifications that will enable subscribers subscribe to a particular service/services/none at all, he added.

NCC however has  provided the various options for the SMS which include:
“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

Ojobo warned the service providers to immediately comply with the Direction as further complaints from the subscribers would be taken as serious infractions to a major regulatory intervention by the Commission.

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Donatus Anichukwueze Technology Writer at Technology Times Media e-mail: donatus.anichukwueze@technologytimes.ng

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