Spam messages: UCC should crack the whip

Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) should punish, not just warn entities that continue to push unsolicited messages and promotional calls. These telecoms companies, information and content providers have pursued their interests against those of consumers, despite repeated warnings by UCC.
As things are, the warning by UCC has done little to stop the barrage of unwanted SMS and calls. UCC should enforce its mandate now, instead of giving the entities reprieve until November 21. Enough is enough the operators have violated a moratorium on telecom promotions imposed by UCC in June. The providers have also failed to ensure consumers are not subjected to mobile spam and calls as defined by UCC Guidelines on Content, Services and Applications. What is more, the complaints by consumers are not limited to unsolicited SMS but extend to poor quality of data and suspect subscription to callers’ tunes.
Plainly said, the mobile phone service users are sick of the game telecoms companies, information, and content providers play. Many would be happier to hear of the punitive action by UCC against these entities than hear of more warnings, minus a profound change. This vice and same old-song of warnings have gone on for far too long and must stop. The phone users should not be saddled with Shs150 to Shs500,000 costs of unsolicited SMS and promotional calls at every instance.
In June, we urged UCC to stop these telecoms companies, information, and content providers pushing spam SMS and promotional calls. We then proposed an opt-out option for clients to stop these nuisance and endless complaints. Commendably, UCC has now cleared most grey areas and streamlined its oversight. The free-of charge opt-out option short code 196 is a great move. UCC should ensure the entities don’t poke holes into this to abuse clients. Similarly, the ‘Do not Disturb’ register proposed by UCC should be activated by all telecoms and breach of application duly penalised.
As UCC broadcasting Commissioner Fred Otunu said, these rules were agreed upon after consultations, are in public domain and breach should be squarely punished. Even spam messages from Internet and other sources should now be easy to check as all telecoms, information and content providers are under UCC supervision. And UCC should not hesitate to withdraw licences and punish non-compliant entities that fail to fix unsolicited calls and SMS flooding clients’ inbox.
The decisive point is for UCC to apply its mandate, enforce compliance and ensures no more spam SMS and unsolicited calls by November 21 deadline.

The issue: Unsolicited messages
Our view: And UCC should not hesitate to withdraw licences and punish non-compliant entities that fail to fix unsolicited calls and SMS flooding clients’ inbox.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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