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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stop lotteries, NCC tells telecom operators

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Thursday in Abuja, directed telecom operators in the country to stop forthwith, all the lottery-related activities and desist from charging premium rates for non premium services.

Head, Media & Public Relations, Mr. Reuben Muoka, who confirmed this to ITRealms Online, said that this directive was based on its statutory responsibility to protect the interests of consumers against unfair practices and consequent upon incessant complaints received from various stakeholders about telecom operators engaging in lottery activities and unsolicited Short Messaging Service (SMS).

A press statement endorsed by Mr. Muoka also declared that “Sending of SMS prompting telecom subscribers to participate in lotteries is suspended until further notice.”

Also, he said, the Commission noted that while promotions are allowed under the guidelines already published by NCC, with set minimum requirements and standards of advertisements and promotions, lotteries are excluded from such activities.

“Promotions as defined in the guidelines do not include lotteries where the consumer does not receive commensurate service or value for money spent,” he said.

The Commission, therefore warned Nigerians, saying that operators should henceforth be guided accordingly, stressing that all promotions carried on by telecom operators must be in accordance with the Guidelines on Advertisements and Promotions published by the Commission.

“No telecom operator is allowed to carry-out any lottery activity as defined above under the license issued by the Commission; Operators are also advised to take due care in the timing, frequency and content of their multi-cast messages to subscribers to reduce nuisance associated with these messages,” Muoka noted in the press statement made available to ITRealms Online.

Additionally, NCC pointed out that sending of SMS prompting telecom subscribers to participate in lotteries is suspended until further notice.

“Operators should desist from charging premium rates for non-premium services,” part of the statement read.

NCC further cautioned that “all network operators are to ensure strict compliance with this Notice, as appropriate sanctions in accordance with the Act and the Enforcement Regulations, 2005 shall be applied to erring operators”.

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