From marketing SMSes to robo calls, I am daily inundated with unsolicited marketing (SPAM) from my network provider. A robo call is an automated call to a subscriber’s number. When you answer the call, you get a pre-recorded message droning away in your ear. One would be anticipating important phone calls, or needing some peace and quiet, and then the phone would ring, and it is this mark of the beast number, 4040 – and recently 5050 – that is calling. A robo call.
In recent times, there has been a huge outcry against the practices of mobile network operators in sending unsolicited marketing messages and robocalls to paying subscribers. Here is an example of the outrage:
We the people demand that the NCC barr cellphone networks from spamming and robo calling its subscribers! Its a fucking paid service!
— darejob (@darejob) July 4, 2013
Do pardon his French in that tweet, but he has a point: subscribers are paying. Why exactly are they being spammed? I mean, if I was given a complimentary line to use for free, and the network in question has to push these messages to me daily to try to get me to subscribe to something, or they push those messages as ads for their paying clients, that would make sense. Basically, the universal standard of business is that if I subscribe to a paid service, the ads would go away, but on a free service, the ads generate income for the service provider. But why would I be a paying subscriber and still be a victim of incessant ads?
Why are mobile networks spamming paying subscribers?
How many times a day do you receive messages like the above captured?
Let Subscribers Choose
There is a fair approach though: give subscribers the option to opt-in to receive those messages and calls. I doubt that the networks will record any appreciable subscription rates though, which is probably why they have refused to go down that route. In which case, why not give subscribers the option to opt-out, so if I don’t want to keep being bugged, I can turn it off. That is the least that each network should implement.
Is there a new business model being evolved here, or are the networks simply taking advantage of loopholes in regulation to do this? Does the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have an official policy governing this practice? Perhaps the network operator environment has been a different world and this is how mobile networks the world over have been operating as overlords for decades? Fine. This is us – we the people – now saying it is not okay anymore. At least here in Nigeria. It is not okay.
Whatever the situation on ground is, it is essential for subscribers to speak out and be heard. If I am asked, I really really, really wish that those numbers from hell would stop calling my line. Oh, and the marketing SMSes too – can someone at my network’s switch get me off those lists? I am tired of being spammed. Have your say too – to be spammed or not to be spammed?