For failing to comply with the ‘Do Not Disturb’ directive issued to 13 network operators on April 20, 2016, the Nigerian Communications Commission on Monday said the operators risked severe sanctions.
The NCC, however, said the network operators had been given another one-week ultimatum – from Monday, November 14, 2016 – to remedy the situation or face the sanctions.
Worried by the non-compliance with the directive following a deluge of complaints from subscribers across Nigeria, the NCC had inaugurated an eight-member committee to look into the matter.
After several meetings, including those it held with the network providers, it became necessary to issue the latest ultimatum to redress the menace of incessant unsolicited text messages and phone calls for telemarketing via the various networks, a statement by the NCC Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo, said.
“The network operators are Airtel Network Limited, MTN Nigeria, Globacom Nigeria, Smile Communication, Visafone Communications, ntel, Etisalat, Multi links, Starcomms, Danjay Telecoms, Gamjitel Limited and Gicell Wireless,” the statement read.
It also said, “The NCC has written to all 13 network providers on whose networks it has received a series of complaints from subscribers regarding the efficacy of the ‘Do Not Disturb’ service.”
The statement said that the commission had engaged mobile network operators on the subject. It said it further directed, “The phrase ‘MTN generated SMS’ referred to part (d) of the duration issued on April 20, 2016 to MTN and other 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, asked the network providers to ensure that information on the ‘Do Not Disturb’ service should be disseminated after every revenue-generating activity through the End of Call Notification for the period not less than 45 days within the hours of 8am to 8pm daily from the receipt of the latest letter on the subject.”
Ojobo said that the operators were also admonished to deploy the 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.
The statement added that the notice served 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 added.