NCC’s riot act on unsolicited messages

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Tony Ojobo, NCC Director, Public Affairs

Tony Ojobo, NCC Director, Public Affairs

Following complaints from GSM subscribers over the deluge of unsolicited messages they receive from network providers, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has warned network providers against such act. According to the regulatory body, it would not hesitate to penalize network providers that failed to keep its regulation on unsolicited messages to subscribers.

Tony Ojobo, Director, Public Affairs, NCC, said the commission would not support network providers that send unsolicited messages to subscribers on the ground that it infringed on their privacy. According to him, the commission was working tirelessly to ensure that such services are curbed. “The issue of unsolicited messages has posed a challenge which the commission has been contending with till today. An unsolicited text message gives a subscriber no choice to receive or not, so the commission had to intervene within the limits of its enabling laws and regulation. We have had series of meetings with the stakeholders and telecom operators on this issue; we cannot deny the fact that we had received series of complaints from subscribers; we are quite aware of it,” he said.

The NCC, Ojobo said, is set to put in place Vast Technical Frame Work to keep track of those sending these unsolicited messages and ensure that they are properly sanctioned once they were able to identify the source of such unsolicited messages.

However, the challenge of tracking the unsolicited messages, according to Ojobo, is that some of the sources were untraceable for now because they are sent through the internet. “To protect the interest of the subscribers, the NCC in the past, has been able to stop unsolicited messages whose sources we were able to identify. Those are the issues I believe will be resolved very soon with the series of meetings we are having with the telecom providers,” he said. He was emphatic that the commission would not fail to also penalize any erring Value Added Service provider (VAS) that failed to comply with the commission’s guideline on unsolicited Short Messaging Services (SMS) to subscribers.

By Pita Ochai

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