It has been long overdue, following a long time of complaints and queries by frustrated Nigerians over the never ending text messages from network operators and advertising agencies, or so we thought. The situation of the unsolicited messages has become so alarming that you can receive between 10 to as much as 50 messages on your phone daily that you never subscribed for and neither are you interested in it. Consequently, when the Nigerian Communications Commission decided to introduce an opportunity for blocking unwanted messages from your phone, it was a welcomed development by all and sundry.
With a full month on the road, here are some of the things we've realized:
- The Network Operators Still Send Us Promotional Text Messages : One major fine print that was a constant feature in the announcement of the DND feature was “third party text messages”. What is a “Third Party Message”? That refers to messages that are sent not by the network operators nor are they received from specific numbers. So, the morning prayers text messages that you receive from your pastor will be included as well as the special Juma’at Prayers and wishes that you receive from your NASFAT Society will also cease. Does that include the network Operators text messages? Simply put, NO. This means that SMS messages sent by network operators will be delivered whereas some other important 3rd party BulkSMS messages such as wedding invitation, religious messages, and the likes may not be delivered to any line subscribed to DND in full blocking mode.
- The activated, the deactivated, and the in-betweens: Yeah you are right, there are those that have the DND activated on their list whether by their consent or not, and there are some that have considered the pros and cons and deactivated DND. But what is been observed after one month of DND is that there appears to be a third group of people that used to receive bulk SMS but they no longer received it. After checking the status of their DND they are informed that they have DND deactivated but despite all of that they still do not get messages from their banks, church, associations and other informative bulk messages. And the Network operators have not come out to explain anything about this latest development to the general populace.
- They Infringed On My Right and blocked my bulk SMS messages from coming in totally: The NCC’s directive is that the network operators should give the subscribers an opportunity to indicate that they do not want to be receiving promotional text messages. But what some of the network operators did was that just subscribed you to the DND service by default in the full version. And the annoying part is that there was no notification to that effect.
With 30 days down the line, how has the DND feature fared? What have we learned? Has the multiple unwanted messages stopped? And how has the network operators fared? A success it is or an utter failure? Well, You decide.