Pantami moves to ban automatic voicemail service by telcos

In a bid to check financial exploitation of customers by telcos, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami has ordered the deactivation of automatic voicemails on existing phone lines in the country, according to Nigerian Tribune.

The Details: In a statement released by a spokesperson to the Minister, Mrs Uwa Suleiman, Pantami described the service as totally unacceptable since it was not popularly used in Nigeria. He also added that the financial charges incurred while accessing the service was another way for telcos to rip consumers off.

The statement read in part:Voicemail 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.

“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 statement said.

Seeking a permanent solution to the problem, Pantami directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to thoroughly sanitize the sector. He ordered the regulatory body to put an end to the issue of automatic voicemails by providing customers an option of accessing the service via an activation code. He added that the decision to utilize the voicemail service should be a matter of choice and not coercion.

In a recent Nairametrics report, Dr Isa Pantami promised to give online vendors and business owners incentives for selling and marketing their businesses on social media or websites, following a newly introduced Federal Government policy.

Pantami noted that some of the incentives would include provision of free domain name for businesses that intend to go online as well as developing laws that would protect online businesses.

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