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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ugly midnight SMS resurfaces

Market Intelligence:

In the last two weeks, Nigerian telecommunications subscribers have been complaining of resurfacing of the Short Messaging Services (SMS) from telecom operators at midnights.

These SMS basically beseech subscribers to migrate from one platform to another.

This element has become disturbing that some of the subscribers have begun to ask “if there is anything wrong with the operating company or if migration is by force.”

For instance, Mr. Onyechi, a Lagos resident complained of receiving series of SMS’ from Celtel numbering over 13, between the night of April 12 and the morning of April 13.

Mr. Onyechi pointed out that his headaches, is not that the SMS are being sent, but at the time of the day when they were sent, which he described as “odd hours” when people are either gearing up to have their night rest or already in bed.

And for those who usually leave their mobile phones on in the event of any incident or emergency, so that they could be reached at ease; this phenomenon has become disturbing, just as this midnight SMS has not stopped the operating companies, especially Celtel Nigeria, from repeating the same message during the day time.

Investigations by Champion Infotel, showed that on April 12, by 11:40pm, Mr. Onyechi received an SMS urging him to save upto 51 per cent on migration to one of the unity tariff structures.

It read, “Save up to 51 per cent on simply special. Dial *141*701# to migrate. Charge N100.”

Our investigations also revealed that by 1:21am another SMS arrived at Mr. Onyechi’s mobile phone with the same message and by 3:01am, another SMS yet arrived.

Not yet done, at 4.42am, he got another SMS on the same migration request, so was 6:22am, 8:03am, and 9:59am as well as 11:24am to mention a few.

The disturbing part of this whole exercise has been that even the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had earlier warned operators on this, following complaints from subscribers at one of the Telecom Parliament sessions in Lagos.

And as it were, the operators seem to have gone on short break and then resumed this absurd again.

However, industry analysts informed that it would have happened out of automated system that has been programmed to deliver messages at a given intervals.

But the question, some subscribers are ardently asking “is there no way this telcos could curtail this midnight SMS, of which would entail thorough management?”

On the other hand, NCC through its Consumer Affairs Bureau has to really wake up by having a dialogue with operators, mostly Celtel in this regard to save Nigerians on its network from swollen eyes as they continue to interrupt subscriber’s night rest.

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