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NCC to impose N10mn fine for unsolicited messages from telcos

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Beginning from July 20,2016, any telecoms service provider who sends unsolicited text messages to consumers would be fine N10 million for such violations, Nigeria Communication Commission,(NCC) has warned

The latest position followed incessant consumer complaints with regard to unsolicited text messages from telcos,and several earlier warning issued by the regulatory agency.

Umar Garba Danbatta,the Executive Vice Chairman of the commission told newsmen in Abuja  that the directive would  be with effect on Wednesday ,as discussions have been held with telcos already.

Danbatta said,”Through this effort and mechanisms,we have been directing operators to ensure compliance in respect to standards. Not just drop calls other standard areas of compliance and technical parameters  must be adhered to.

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Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigeria Communication Commission

Danbatta while issuing the directive said,”Henceforth,from 20th of July,all messages must have the  provision. Consumers can then opt into this or opt out without being coerced into any unsolicited texts.

This is going to apply to all consumers without distinction. Whether you are the regulator or ordinary consumer,you will receive a text message that allows you to opt in or opt out on unsolicited text messages”

If this important regulatory directives are not adhered to,then there are consequences. There is a fine of N10 million naira for non adherence. We really mean business on this one”Danbatta said.

He  also urged the federal government to also re-consider various regimes of taxes confronting the telcoms  sector.

According to him,”Operators are daily being subjected to indiscriminate regime of taxes. These regime of taxes,are in variance with what has been prescribed to by in a document which is the National Economic Council Resolution on the right of way has stated the taxes to be charged and stated the regime of taxes that are allowed to operators in the event operators want to extend services in the areas that doesn’t have services.

Danbatta while explaining further  said,”One of the taxes is to charge 140 naira to a kilometer of fibre.,and only 20 naira for maintenance of same. You find state governments,federal and local government charging different extremely high  rates such as ,N5000,N7000 .This is virtually by all the entities of the government.  In some cases,you still find the area boys collecting their own taxes too.

So,this is rarely a menace that is degrading the quality of service. My appeal to the Minister is to join the appeal with the NCC is ensuring the adherence of the National Economic Council right of way for effective taxing of telcos.

There are also other important factors,which affects the quality of services,negatively. Prominent among the list is the unsteady electricity supply. I will live it with the  minister to also make that as a case for improvement of the electricity supply which also affects the telcos.