By Constance Athekame and Regina Abu
Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), says that close to 10 million subscribers have activated the “Do not Disturb Code.”
Danbatta said this in Abuja on Thursday at the 82nd Edition of Telecom Consumers Parliament with the theme “Value added Service and its Benefits (VAS).
According to him, 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 complaints 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 market, while spicing up consumer quality of experience in the industry.
He added that VAS was an important service necessary for optimizing the benefits of telecom service to consumers.
“It enables in a very special way, social media and e-commerce activities that might be useful to the consumer.
“While offering a veritable tool for entrepreneurs and businesses in this modern and mobile age of Internet of things.
“The main advisory of VAS is for consumers to become protected, which are digital entrepreneurs, ‘’ he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that consumers at the parliament complained of unsolicited text messages and calls, deductions amongst others.
Mr Peter Ojo, a consumer, 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 realize 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?
Rev Jason Nwoha, a stakeholder, said that it would be better if network providers allow consumers to decide the messages they want instead of sending unsolicited text messages and calls and asking them to opt out.
The panelists, who discussed the issue, were made up officials of NCC, MTN, Airtel, GLO, Smile Network, NTel and 9mobile.
All panelists agreed that subscription must be confirmed by the consumers in form of an SMS with detailed information about the subscription as a final step.
“Consumers must take deliberate actions to protect themselves by confirming from their banks before disclosing personal financial information”.