Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given another one-week ultimatum from Monday, November 14, 2016 to 13 mobile phone network operators to stop unsolicited telemarketing or risk severe sanctions.
NCC had earlier on April 20, 2016 issued a directive on the Do Not Disturb (DND) to 13 network operators and worried by the non-compliance by the operators occasioned by a deluge of complaints by subscribers across Nigeria, the commission inaugurated an eight – member committee to look into the matter.
The NCC Director, Public Affairs, Mr Tony Ojobo in a statement said, “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.”
The network 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.
The statement 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 therefore asked the network 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 8am to 8 pm daily from the receipt of the latest letter on the subject.
The operators were 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.
The statement said 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.”