Subscribers Groan As Unsolicited SMS Persists

Subscribers Groan As Unsolicited SMS Persists

.NATCOMS prescribes N10, 000 free airtime for each default
• Etisalat claims 2.49m customers activated code on network

There appears to be no respite for telecommunications consumers in Nigeria, as the menace of unsolicited Short Message Service (SMS) persist.Consumers are complaining of increase in the rate at which unsolicited SMS’ flood their mobile phones on a daily basis, describing it as ‘alarming.’

This is coming on the heels of a declaration by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, that more than one million consumers had activated the 2442 Do-Not-Disturb (DND) code, within two months of its launch.

However, several consumers are still getting these messages, even after activating the DND code.Already, an Abuja Court of Appeal has ruled that granting unknown persons and organisations access to a subscriber’s telephone line by one of the operators, MTN in this case, for the purpose of sending unsolicited messages to the line is a violation of the subscriber’s right to privacy.

In view of this, the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMs) has called for sanctions on erring operators and compensation for subscribers.
A document that emanated from the Legal and Regulatory Department of the NCC, and directed to network operators last year, showed that erring telecom firms risked N5 million fine if they failed to comply with the directive and further N500,000 daily for as long as the contravention persists. This was as at June 2016.

Meanwhile, some subscribers, who spoke with The Guardian, recounted their experiences.Shola Amodu, a subscriber to MTN, Globacom and Etisalat, lamented that the menace became more worrisome for him, even after activating the 2442 DND code.

“It was as if I opened my house for flood to come in. The two networks common with this menace are MTN and Globacom.“SMS such as ‘Data Overload Deal! Yes! Enjoy data overload. Get 6GB data for just N2000, valid for 30 days. You can share data with your friends and family. Hurry! Dial *777# Now.”