NCC may sanction MTN, Airtel, others over unsolicited telemarketing

 For failing to comply with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) directive on the Do Not Disturb (DND) directives, issued to the various telecoms service providers on April 20, 2016, 13 network operators in the country risk severe sanctions by the NCC.
They have, however, been given one more week ultimatum commencing from Monday, November 14, 2016 to remedy the situation or face the sanctions as prescribed in the directive.
Worried by the non-compliance of the operators following the plethora of complaints from subscribers across Nigeria, the NCC inaugurated an eight-member committee to look into the matter.
Tony Ojobo, NCC Director of Public Affairs, in a statement said that after several meetings, including those it held with the service providers, it became necessary to issue the latest ultimatum to redress the menace of incessant unsolicited text messages and phone calls for telemarketing in the various networks.
The telecoms operators include Airtel Network Limited, MTN Nigeria, Globacom Nigeria, Smile Communication, Visafone Communications, Ntel, Etisalat, Multi links, Starcomms, Danjay Telecoms, Gamjitel Limited and Gicell wireless.
Ojobo disclosed that the NCC has written to all the 13 service providers on whose networks it has received series of complaints from subscribers questioning the relevance of the Do Not Disturb (DND) service.
The Director said that the Commission had engaged mobile network operators on this subject and further directs that: the phrase Network generated SMS’ referred to part (d) of the duration issued on April 20, 2016 to network providers shall be taken to mean: messages and calls 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, ordered the service 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 8.00am to 8.00 pm 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 maintained that this notice serves as a pre-enforcement notice and “Failure to comply with the directives, in furtherance of the Direction of April 20, 2016, within seven days from November 14, 2016 shall result in the imposition of appropriate sanctions”.
“The menace of unsolicited text messages has been a nightmare to several millions of subscribers and the Commission can no longer accept any excuses whatsoever from the network providers,” Ojobo declared.

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