THE Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has announced the commencement of enforcement of the ‘do not disturb’ code. This is targeted at erring operators who refuse to provide subscribers with the 2442 short code which gives them the freedom to choose which messages they receive on their mobile phones. Recently subscribers have consistently complained of the deluge of unsolicited text messages and mobile advertising materials the operators willfully foist on them through their mobile phones, without any opt-out options. Most of these messages come in droves on daily basis and eat into the accounts of subscribers without their authorization.
Following the complaints, the regulator mandated the operators in Nigeria to introduce a ‘do not disturb’ short code,2442 with immediate effect so that the subscribers would have options of receiving those mails or not. But it appears that like in every other directive, the operators were seemingly very reluctant to comply. However, the commission says it has since July,1, 2016, activated the enforcement option in its regulatory methods, for this particular directive and expected that the operators would, as a matter of urgency, comply immediately. Director of Public Affairs of the commission, Mr. Tony Ojobo, said this action was taken in order to protect subscribers from the nuisance of unsolicited texts, and therefore a direct regulatory response to the yearnings of the subscribers.
He contended that by this action, the Commission has invoked a regulatory provision which had hitherto been overlooked by the operators. Taking cognizance of the broad range of services which include: Banking/Insurance/ Financial Products, Real Estate, Education, Health, Consumer Goods and Automobiles, Communication/ Broadcasting/ Entertainment/ IT, Tourism and leisure, Sports, Religion(Christianity, Islam, others), the Commission directed the operators to give the necessary instructions and clarifications that will enable subscribers subscribe to a particular service, services or none at all. In fact, a Full DND which is SMS “STOP” to 2442 does not allow the subscriber to receive any unsolicited message from the operators at all. Ojobo pointed out however, that the decision of the Commission does not affect personal messages or person to person messages which are private communication by individuals. He urged the operators to comply immediately with the direction issued by the Commission and never again harass subscribers with unwanted messages.