NCA to start sanctioning perpetrators of “vanishing airtime”

The National Communications Authority (NCA) is warning telecom operators, value-added service providers, advertisers, and content aggregators to put a stop to all automatic and unconsented subscriptions of consumers or risk being sanctioned.

The regulating body is also asking these entities to equally stop the transmission of all unsolicited electronic messages and other marketing messages to consumers.

This action is being perceived as a result of the demonstration campaign by Tech24gh and Squeakgh which they dubbed #StopTheAirtimeLoot. Their campaign brought to light how telecom with their value-added service partners sign consumers on to commercial content with the consumers’ consent.

Under Ghanaian law, this practice is a crime and is allegedly the reason behind the complaints of vanishing airtime on people’s phones across the country.

After the demonstrative campaign, NCA is still looking into the matter and promises to institute stringent measures to sanitize the system should it be true.

NCA is currently directing telecos to ensure that consumers subscribing to their value-added services go through a two-step process and telecos should copy and keep proof of consent by the subscriber.

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NCA will further collaborate with Data Protection Commission to put measures in place such that messages are sent to only persons who have consented to it.

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The team is also urging phone users to be extremely careful when sharing their contact details with strangers especially when there is no disclaimer regarding the data protection.

The regulator also urged consumers to report any unsolicited messages/calls sent to them to either their service provider via 100 or to the NCA at toll-free number 0800110622.

Meanwhile, the NCA is developing a special portal dubbed Do-Not-Text/Call (DNT/C) Portal, where consumers can report any UECs than come on their phone with all the details so that the respective service provider can be engaged to answer for it.

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