Following incessant complaints from subscribers about the alarming numbers of unsolicited messages imposed on them by network providers, the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) instructed all Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to implement the Do Not Disturb (DND) code. Sending an SMS with the word "STOP" to "2442" enabled subscribers opt out of receiving any unwanted messages.
However since the implementation of the code in July 2016, some service providers have shown reluctance to comply. According to the NCC in a letter addressed to 13 Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) , even though some MNO have set up the DND facility on their network, subscribers are still largely unaware about its availability and how to opt in. Now the NCC is taking decisive to steps to ensure the enforcement of the DND code by imposing a ₦5 million fine on defaulters.
Speaking at the Academia on ITU Study Group Participation held at Digital Bridge Institute, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC Prof. Umar Dambatta said;
“We are at the stage of imposing the Do Not Disturb (DND), code direction, meaning that any breach of this direction will attract a fine of ₦5 million. If a consumer lodges complaint to NCC that a MNO send unsolicited text messages and the complaint from the consumer get to us, we will ensure that credit deducted from the consumers for this unsolicited text messages is returned to the consumer and will also invoke provision of the fine on the MNO which is N5 million.
This is to ensure total compliance and this is a measure of last resort. The NCC impose regulation as a measure of last resort, after we have given the MNO time to ensure compliance and we have monitored them to ensure compliance to ensure that the compliance is not selective.”
Different reactions have trailed the implementation of the DND code. While a lot of people agree that it is a step in the right direction, others argue that it may result in decreased revenues for providers of Value Added Services like bulk SMS, premium SMS and ring back tunes. Regardless, the NCC seems determined to see this one through.