ABUJA (Min of Communication and Digital Economy Report) – The attention of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has been drawn to the latest trend of financial exploitation by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country, through the automatic activation of the voicemail service on their platforms.
Based on recent reports reaching the office, the practice has gained momentum in recent times.
The Minister finds it worrisome and totally unacceptable that, telecoms subscribers incur financial charges for a service they are compelled to use by default. He explained that voicemail service is not a popular service among mobile phone users in Nigeria, coupled with the language challenge among rural dwellers who mostly do not understand the language deployed by these networks. He therefore directed that voicemail service should be accessed at the discretion of the subscriber and not by default.
He continued that it is apparent that the recent clampdown on the exploitative activities of some Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country has beamed the searchlight on the sector properly, and some unpatriotic elements in the system are devising subtle, ingenious methods of defrauding Nigerians.
The Minister assured that this act would not be ignored, as it undermines the Anti Corruption Crusade of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration which has vowed not to condone any attempt aimed at defrauding Nigerians and indeed, all subscribers.
In light of the above, Dr Pantami has issued a broad policy directive to the sector regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to immediately ensure that issues regarding automatic voicemails are addressed on all existing phone lines and the subscribers, given the option of accessing the service via an activation code.
He said it is our collective responsibility to ensure that the rights of consumers are protected, while providing a conducive business environment for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), in line with global best practice.
Uwa Suleiman (Mrs)
Spokesperson to the Honourable Minister of Communications & Digital Economy