NCC to sanction various operators over unsolicited telemarketing

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Monday said it would sanction 13 telecommunications operators for failing to comply with the ‘2442 Do Not Disturb (DND)’ directive on unsolicited telemarketing.

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According to a statement signed by the NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr Tony Ojobo, the directive was issued on April 20, 2016.

Ojobo said that the 13 operators included: Airtel Network Ltd., MTN Nigeria, Globacom Nigeria, Smile Communication, Visafone Communications, Ntel, Etisalat, Multi-Links, Starcomms, Danjay Telecoms, Gamjitel Ltd., Megatech Engineering Ltd. and Gicell Wireless.

According to him, the service providers have been given another one-week ultimatum, from Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, to remedy the situation or face the sanctions enshrined in the directive.

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“Worried by the non-compliance by the operators, occasioned by a deluge of complaints by subscribers across Nigeria, the NCC 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,’’ he said.

Ojobo said the commission had written to the providers on whose networks it had received series of complaints from subscribers regarding the efficacy of DND.

He said the phrase ‘Network-Generated SMS’ referred to in Part (d) of the directive shall be taken to mean messages and calls, with respect to only information on emergencies.

According to him, the information on emergencies, include: national security, fire, notifications on network maintenance programmes down times and notification regarding subscribers’ bundle usage and service renewals.

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“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’’.

“NCC has therefore, asked these 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 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, from the receipt of the latest letter on the subject.

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“The operators are also admonished to deploy this information through all their channels of communications, including websites, social media platforms, billboards, flash messages, text messages, Interactive Voice Response platform, radio jingles, newspapers advertisements and television commercials,’’ he said.

The director said that this notice served as a pre-enforcement notice, adding that failure to comply with it would attract appropriate sanctions.

He said the menace of unsolicited text messages had been a nightmare to subscribers.

Ojobo said that the commission could no longer accept further excuses from network providers.

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