When POTRAZ held a workshop back in September to consult telecoms consumers on consumer protection issues, a recurring issue at the workshop was the issue of spam. Spam unleashed by the operators themselves on their mobile subscribers and by operators on other operators’ subscribers, and businesses in general looking to reach the 12 million+ mobile subscribers in Zimbabwe.
We expected some new pressure on the mobile operators that would hopefully result in less promotional SMSs to consumers to spend more on communication. What we didn’t realise then is that they’d already been told to behave. POTRAZ issued a regulatory notice as early as April this year advising the operators that spam was unacceptable.
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But if you have ever wondered what the regulatory position is on spam, here’s an extract from the notice. You can download the full document here.
In line with its mandate to promote the interest of users as stipulated in Section 4 of the Postal and Telecommunications Act Chapter 12:05 of 2000, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) requires operators to adhere to the following principles:
- To respect the constitutional right of customers to personal privacy and shall not provide their subscriber databases to third parties without the consent of customers.
- Not send or cause to be sent commercial communication to Subscribers unless—
- The subscriber has subscribed to the service by sending an SMS or in writing.
- The principal message includes a functional unsubscribe facility that the recipient may use to instruct the person who authorised the sending of the principal message (the sender) that no further commercial messages from or authorised by the sender should be sent to the mobile number at which the principal message was received; and
- The unsubscribe facility is expressed and presented in a clear and conspicuous manner; and
- The unsubscribe facility allows the recipient to respond to the sender using the same method of communication that was used to send the principal message; and
- There is no cost to the recipient if the recipient uses the unsubscribe facility.