NCC Suspends ‘Do-Not-Disturb’ SMS Feature Ahead of General Elections

NCC Suspends DND Feature Used By 10m Users, But Does Not Say How Long Suspension Will Last

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that the hugely popular do-not-disturb feature will be temporary suspended few days to the general elections.

According to the Nigerian telecom industry regulator, the suspension is to allow mobile network operators share voter education information. With the elections just one week away, voter sensitization is crucial right now.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) upon due consideration of the upcoming General Elections, has decided to temporarily suspend its Direction to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) on Do-Not-Disturb (DND), in order to enable the MNOs disseminate specific information on voter education on behalf of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The DND feature has become hugely popular in Nigeria. After years of ferocious spam messages and calls, the DND feature was finally introduced by the NCC in 2016.

DND helps to block unsolicited text messages and provide subscribers with the SMS sanity that they crave for. Since its introduction, the feature has grown quickly and is now being used by over 9 million telecom subscribers.

In perspective, that’s nearly the total number of subscribers on 9Mobile.

But the feature is not perfect though. For one thing, it doesn’t block spam messages from telecom operators themselves. And telecom operators are wildly regarded as the biggest spammers.

How Long Will The DND Suspension Last?

The NCC’s decision to suspend the DND feature, even for a week, re-opens the flood gates of spam messages once again. However, the industry regulator has instructed telcos to respect voter privacy during the period DND is suspended. It also tasked operators to be mindful of both the timing and regularity of how voter sensitisation messages will be sent.

Unfortunately, the regulator did not specify how long the suspension will last. In a press release, the regulator shares that the “temporary suspension is only with regards to the specific messages on voters’ education”.

And this is quite tricky. With no timeframe specified verbatim, telecom users could get exposed and made vulnerable to spam messages even after the election period.

Regardless though, get ready for a barrage of spam messages during this election season.

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