Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says close to 10 million subscribers have activated the “Do not Disturb” code to stop unsolicited messages.
Danbatta made this known on Thursday in Abuja at the 82nd Edition of Telecom Consumer Parliament with the theme: “Value added Service (VAS) and its Benefits’’.
“When NCC kicked off the campaign in March, it was to empower the Nigerian consumers and protect them from unwholesome practices by telecommunication providers and operators.
“Specifically, we had multitude of complains on unsolicited text messages, and daily consumers were being surcharged, money was being deducted from their little credit for services they did not solicit for
“We needed to come in to educate consumers on what they can do to checkmate unsolicited text messages.
“The number of the activation of the Do Not Disturb facility which is the facility that enables consumers to stop completely receiving unsolicited text messages or some text messages was a little under 500 when the campaign started.
“The number of activation of the Do not Disturb facility is close to 10 million. So that is a great remarkable achievement that has been attained through this campaign, ‘’ he said.
Danbatta said that the theme of the programme was carefully chosen to underscore the importance of VAS in adding to the excitement in the market, while spicing up consumers quality of experience in the industry.
He said that VAS was an important service necessary for optimising the benefits of telecom service to consumers.
“It enables it in a very special way, social media and e-commerce activities that might be useful to the consumer,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that consumers at the parliament complained of unsolicited text messages and calls deductions, among others.
Mr Peter Ojo, an MTN subscriber complained that some service providers collect as much as N50 weekly for back up contacts.
“When multiplied by the number of subscribers on that network, you will realise that huge amount of money is being made from that; so why not back up our contacts to Google to save cost?
“Who takes responsibility when a consumer is being surcharged by a service provider?,’’ he wondered.
Rev. Jason Nwoha said that it would be better if network providers allowed consumers to decide the messages they wanted “instead of sending unsolicited text messages and calls and asking them to opt out.’’
The panellists, who responded to the issues raised, include officials of NCC, MTN, Airtel, GLO, Smiles, NTel, 9mobile
All panellists agreed that consumers must take deliberate actions to protect themselves by confirming from their banks before disclosing personal financial information.