A document from the Legal and Regulatory Services Department of the Nigerian Communications Commission indicates that the NCC has barred mobile number operators from sending out unsolicited text messages to subscribers.
The failure by any of the operators to comply with the new directive, with effect from July 1, 2016, will attract a fine of N5m, with additional N500,000 per day, for as long as the contravention persists, according to the commission.
The document, which was obtained on Sunday, showed that a total of 13 MNOs were issued with the directive. They include: MTN, Airtel, Smile, Etisalat, Globacom and Visafone.
Others are Starcomms, Megatech Engineering Limited, Gicell Wireless Limited, Danjay Telecoms, Gamjitel, Multilinks and Natcom.
The PUNCH recalls that the commission had been inundated with complaints from subscribers about the menace of unsolicited text messages and calls from the MNOS, which were said to have impacted negatively on consumer quality experience in the telecoms industry.
However, with the new law on unsolicited messages, licensees are now mandated by the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations, 2007, to conduct telemarketing in accordance with any ‘call’ or ‘do not call’ preferences recorded by the consumer at the time of entering into a contract for services or after.
The document stated that the commission, through its monitoring activities, confirmed that though some MNOs had set up the DND facility on their network, the awareness by subscribers of the availability of the DND facility on the MNOs network and how to opt into the facility was “very minimal and unsatisfactory.”
It said that the NCC, in line with its regulatory functions of protecting the interest of consumers as provided in Sections 4(1)(b) and 105(1) of the Nigeria Communications Act, 2003, and ensuring the development of the Nigerian communications industry, was of the opinion that the degradation of consumer quality experience through unsolicited telemarketing should be curtailed.