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NCC Bars Lotteries By Telecom Operators

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ABUJA, June 18, (THEWILL) - The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC Thursday directed telecom operators in the country to stop further lottery related activities and to desist from charging premium rates for non premium services.

The Commission said this directive is premised on its statutory responsibility to protect the interests of consumers against unfair practices and consequent upon incessant complaints received from various stakeholders about telecom operators engaging in lottery activities and unsolicited short message service (SMS).

"Sending of SMS prompting telecom subscribers to participate in lotteries is suspended until further notice", the Commission said in a statement made available to THEWILL in Abuja.

The Commission said while promotions are allowed under the guidelines already published by the Commission with set minimum requirements and standards of advertisements and promotions, lotteries are excluded from such activities.

It said "promotions as defined in the guidelines do not include lotteries where the consumer does not receive commensurate service or value for money spent."

The Commission invites the Nigerian public; and the operators to henceforth be guided accordingly as follows:

1. All promotions carried on by telecom operators must be in accordance with the Guidelines on Advertisements and Promotions published by the Commission.

2. No Telecom Operator is allowed to carry-out any lottery activity as defined above under the License issued by the Commission

3. Operators are also advised to take due care in the timing, frequency and content of their multi-cast messages to subscribers to reduce nuisance associated with these messages.

4. Sending of SMS prompting telecom subscribers to participate in lotteries is suspended until further notice.

5. Operators should desist from charging premium rates for non-premium services.

The Commission then directed that "all network operators are to ensure strict compliance with this Notice, as appropriate sanctions in accordance with the Act and the Enforcement Regulations, 2005 shall be applied to erring operators."