Senate summons Telco firms over unsolicited adverts

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The Senate has mandated its Committee on Communications to invite the four leading telecommunication firms and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to seek ways of addressing unsolicited adverts by telecom companies and service providers.

Also summoned to appear before the Gilbert Nnaji-led committee are representatives of the Consumer Protection Council, as well as the Association of Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria (AAPN).

This followed a motion moved by Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi State) at plenary on Tuesday.

The four leading telecom companies to appear before the panel are MTN, Airtel, Globacom and 9Mobile.

Moving the motion, Abdullahi lamented that even though service providers have been reaping huge revenues from their investments, Nigerians have not enjoyed commensurate quality of services from them.

The lawmaker expressed concern that with high tariffs and an estimated 150 million subscribers in the country, the four leading operators within the industry, namely: MTN, (53.4million, or 39 percent), Airtel (38.3 million, or 26percent), Globacom (38.2 million, or 26 percent) and 9Mobile (16.8 million, or 12 percent), are yet to fully integrate themselves into the larger Nigerian economy, in ways that could provide opportunities for Nigerians to benefit from their operations.

He decried the increased incidences of dropped calls, unaccounted ‘disappearance’ of airtime from devices, weak signals across networks and false report of unavailable call destinations, frequent unsolicited calls, product and programme promos, instances of tricking Nigerians to subscribe to riddles and jokes and indiscriminate religious contents.

“Dissatisfied that even with the setting up of the ”Do-Not-Disturb, (DND) opt-out application, as demanded by the Nigerian Communications Commission, the GSM operators have not done enough to educate the public on its availability and workings.

“Even with the setting up of the “Do-Not-Disturb (DND)” opt-out application, as demanded by the NCC, the GSM operators have not done enough to educate the public on its availability and workings,” he said.

The Senate also resolved to urge the NCC to ensure that any person or entity found to have abused regulatory guidelines is sanctioned in line with extant rules and regulations.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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