Following increased consumer complaints regarding unsolicited SMS from Value Added Service (VAS) providers marketing their various services within the Nigerian telecoms space, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has published a list of the organisations who are behind your constant irritation and aggravation by pestering you with those pesky text messages and automated voice calls (robo-calls). Here is the NCC’s list:
1. MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd;
2. Globacom Nigeria Ltd
3. Upstream Ltd
4. Adnol Multimedia Ltd
5. Fun Mobile
6. Terragon Ltd
7. Rancard Mobility
8. Mtech Ltd
10. Starfish Ltd
11. Next Generation Tele Solutions
12. One Communications Ltd
The NCC says that warning letters have been sent to all VAS providers directing that all unsolicited messages or telemarketing activities within the networks could at best be done between the hours of 8am – 8pm in line with the existing guidelines. This is necessary to ensure good consumer quality experience in the industry.
I am not sure what the “existing guidelines” for unsolicited messages are, but it is my opinion that putting the power to opt-out of unsolicited messages in the hands of the consumer should be a part of them. For example, if I receive an unsolicited message asking me to subscribe to Live Match / Soccer Breaking News, and I am not interested, there should be an option to reply with “Unsubscribe” or something of the sort so that I do not continue to get pestered about it. Or if I get a Robo-call from 12806877, and I do not want to be pestered again, the option to opt out should be available for me. The way it works now is that I do not have a say. Yet, it is my line and I am a paying subscriber.
Whatever the existing guidelines are, it does not seem to provide for the consumer to be so empowered. Directing service providers to feel free to pester subscribers with unsolicited messages during peak periods (when most are expecting important messages and calls) is not good enough. I will be busy with important work and expecting say, bank credit alerts (you know!). I pick up my phone at every SMS alert only to find that the incoming message is another unwanted distraction? This will not do. I am a paying subscriber and I should have the option to opt out of unsolicited messages. Anybody in NCC reading? Anyone with hands, legs and a mouth in there?