Mobile phone operators warned against unsolicited text messages

20Jan 2018
Henry Mwangonde
The Guardian
Mobile phone operators warned against unsolicited text messages

THE Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) warned mobile network operators in the country yesterday against bombarding cellphone subscribers with unsolicited text messages.

The telecoms regulator said mobile phone users in Tanzania will now be able to directly report any violations against their privacy for action.

To this effect, TCRA launched guidelines in Dar es Salaam yesterday as part of efforts to raise awareness of mobile phone subscribers about their rights and responsibilities.

The guidelines outline the right of telecoms consumers to fair terms, the right to complain against poor quality of service, service delays and other shortfalls.

“The guidelines will work as a reference document whenever using or buying communications services, but will also help to ensure that telecoms consumers get value for money and enjoy the various information technology services,” said TCRA Director General James Kilaba.

He noted that the regulator has put in place an effective system for handling telecoms-related consumer complaints.

The guidelines encourage mobile phone subscribers in the country to report any problems in service delivery and outline the reporting procedure.

The guidelines, among other things, were aimed at addressing various long-standing consumer complaints about the quality of telecommunications services in the country, Kilaba explained.

In his remarks, the deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Atashasta Nditiye, ordered TCRA to ensure that it takes stern measures against any telecoms service provider that operates in the country contrary to established guidelines.

Nditiye said there has been a tendency by some mobile network operators to bombard their subscribers with unsolicited text messages, usually promoting certain products and services for commercial purposes.

“This unfair practice must immediately come to an end,” the deputy minister remarked.

He also applauded TCRA for its decision to slash mobile termination rates (MTR) – the charges one network pays another to end a call on its network - saying it will lead to cheaper telephone calls.

The government wants mobile phone operators in the country to cut fees they charge each other to connect calls by over 90 per cent over the next five years.

The move however has not been received well by some telecom operators who said it would lead to massive revenue losses and stifle future investments in the fast-growing sector.

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