Stakeholders at the 79th edition of Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) have blamed subscribers’ poor application of the Do Not Disturb (DND) code on low awareness among consumers. The DND is a code a consumer protection tool introduced by the telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC to enable consumers control the type of messages they receive from the service providers.
Various speakers who spoke at the event held at NAF Conference Centre, Abuja at the weekend attributed the unending unsolicited text messages and complaints by consumers on ignorance and poor application of the DND code.
The DND code was introduction in April 2016 and implemented June, 2016 by the NCC following the barrage of complaints on how the service providers were embarrassing subscribers with unsolicited messages.
In his paper titled: ”Implementation of the DND: The Journey So Far’, the guest speaker at the event, Barr. Ayoola Oke, said consumers usually mistake promotional messages for conventional messages and as such, do not have full understanding of how to implement the DND code.
He explained that some subscribers do not understand the difference between full DND activation and partial activation.
For full activation, subscribers are expected to send Do Not Disturb to 2442 and for specific sms send Stop to 2442 and he is provided with an option to choose, which type of sms to stop.
In his opening address, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Dambatta said the issue of consumer protection is very paramount to the NCC because it believes that the consumer is the king.
To uphold the principle, he said the Commission had rolled out various programmes to inform, educate and protect the consumer.
For the DND initiative to succeed, he said there should be massive awareness campaign by both regulator and operating companies. Reacting to questions from
aggrieved subscribers, the NCC’s Director of Legal and Regulatory Services, Mrs Yetunde Akinloye said that the Commission had set up a task force to ensure compliance of the DND code.
She also said that the Commission is setting up a task force with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to look into complaints surrounding the increasing cases of unauthorized Sim Swap by unscrupulous elements and other related vices.
She added that the NCC had gone a step further to standardize 2442 code.
She explained that the Commission had been inundated with so many complaints about unauthorized Sim Swap, by fraudulent peoplewho engage in defrauding unsuspecting telecom subscribers. Very soon, we will coming up with a guideline to unify sim-swap procedures.
”We are aware that there are pending bills at the National Assembly aimed at addressing the problem of unsolicited messages.
”We have received so many complaints from the public on unthorized Sim swap and after investigations , we discovered that right now, the procedure for Sim swap differ from one operator to the other but we want to standardize how Sim Swap is done.”
Reacting, the representative of MTN, Adamu Abubakar argued that some of the problems being faced by the consumers are caused by some imported and branded phones which were originally not meant for Nigeria and Africa as a whole.