#National News

PURA launches ‘Do-Not-Disturb’ guideline to restrict unsolicited messages

Aug 5, 2022, 12:31 PM | Article By: Fatou Dem

The Gambia Public Utilities and Regulatory Authority (PURA) has launched the 'Do-Not-Disturb' guideline for the telecommunication sector to restrict operators from sending unsolicited messages to their subscribers without prior consent.

The guideline was launched on Thursday 4th August 2022 during a press conference at the Authority’s head office along Kairaba Avenue.

Solo Sima, director of Consumer Affairs on behalf of PURA Director General explained that consumers have been complaining about receiving unsolicited promotional SMS across networks, with subscribers sometimes receiving up to 10 or 12 SMS from operators in a day.

“One of the complaints consumers gave us was that those messages overload their phone storage capacity and becomes a constant nuisance,” he said.

“Those interventions by consumers are what led to the formulation of the DND guidelines,” He added.

“A shortcode has been created which will be used by all service providers as means to actualize the request of consumers as it pleases them,” Mr Sima said further.

However, failures of operators honoring the request of consumers will lead to punitive action to the tune of fifty thousand dalasis (50,000) per infraction, according to him.

Batch Samba Willan, Consumer Affairs Assistant presented the benefits of the ‘Do-Not-Disturb’ guidelines, saying it gives consumers the right to opt in or out from receiving SMS from operators.

It also gives consumers the right to choose which service they want to receive from service providers, he stated.
“Consumers have the right to full or partial DND implementation. Full implementation is when
they opt out of receiving all unsolicited SMS and partial implementation is when they
choose to receive some messages,” he also said.

He further said that customers should only receive messages on their devices from 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. except for national emergencies.

Amadou Ceesay, chief executive secretary at The Gambia Competition and Consumer Protection Commission cited section 5 of the Consumer Protection Act that guarantees the right to privacy, saying consumers deserve such right.

He said they welcome the initiative and are ready to partner with PURA in disseminating news to consumers who are ready to opt-in or opt out.