You will agree with me that the Internet Service providers are in a habit of sending bulk messages to subscribers to market new products and tariff plans. This can be very annoying because the messages are usually repetitive and one is likely to accidentally agree to subscribe to a plan by ‘pressing OK’. With a series of complaints from subscribers, accusing the internet subscribers of unfairness, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) introduced the Do-Not-Disturb code.
The NCC recently reported that about 10 million Nigerians have activated the code. This service allows users to opt out of this unsolicited, sometimes annoying short messages. The messages usually range from asking the subscribers to pay for motivational tips to prayer points. It became a nightmare for many as they unknowingly subscribed to services that were of no use to them.
Prior to the campaign to stop unsolicited texts, 500,000 people had activated the NCC’s 2442 code to stop unsolicited messages on their phones. Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the commission revealed this at the 5th meeting of the National Council of Communications and Information Technology in Katsina. He said:
‘We embarked on the campaign specifically with regard to two important issues. One is, Do-Not-Disturb facility as we have received a lot of complaints that many consumers received unsolicited text messages and for which they were unfairly being charged. We dedicated a facility that will stop those messages from coming to the handsets of the consumers.’
Many consumers have taken advantage of opting out of this system of unfairness by sending STOP to 2442. The second aspect of the campaign was to create an awareness of the existing emergency call centres. ‘One is being constructed in each state of the federation in order to provide a reprieve to people in distress; those who require ambulance service, fire-fighting services; and those in need of attention from the police, using another toll-free line, 112′, he said further.
In order to protect subscribers from unsolicited telemarketing, the NCC has instructed and made it mandatory for every network operator to create a database for consumers who have activated the Do-Not-Disturb code, to avoid a mix-up as complacency will not be tolerated.