MTN Uganda develops Content Management Solution (CMS) to address SMS spam


After numerous complaints about spam sms and a lawsuit from one MTN Uganda customer, MTN Uganda has taken very defined and bold steps to rectify all the complaints they have been receiving from their customers. In a press conference yesterday at their Nyonyi gardens office, MTN CEO Brian Gouldie assured customers that they have finally found a permanent solution to the problem that gives them control over what sms notifications they receive. Below is the press release (unedited) on the issue.

Content Management Solution (CMS) to address spamming and unexplained charges for subscriptions services

Meanwhile, MTN Uganda has also implemented a content management solution. The solution will manage the distribution and billing of content from 3rd party content providers to MTN customers. CMS provides features that will enable MTN customers to accept or stop promotional SMS messages and subscription alerts of various information like current news and sports news, relationship/love tips and service updates among others.

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“It’s a top business priority for MTN to focus on driving a positive customer experience across all our services & product portfolios,” said Mr. Gouldie. He added “We are therefore very mindful of the concerns our customers have continued to raise about the spam messages they receive from content providers and hence have taken the initiative to give them the power to take control and choose the messages they receive”.

In addition, MTN is implementing a 30 day expiry and customers will be given an option to select continue if they so wish to continue receiving the subscription notifications. And it’s our recommendations that this becomes an industry standard.

This solution will in effect put the power in the hands of customers to stop unwanted SMS messages, and to subscribe or unsubscribe to messages of their choice. It will allow customers to opt out of receiving specific messages as identified by a Sender ID – which is the name/number from which these messages are received by a subscriber. Customers will still have the option to keep receiving or subscribing messages about products and services they deem important to them. To use the solution, customers dial *175# and follow prompts. We are also in the process of migrating this functionality to *196#

This solution that has been developed in collaboration with Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), is a pro-active first step towards protecting our customers from spamming and charges they knowingly or unknowingly incur as a result of subscribing to information services/alerts they receive on their mobile handsets.

“At MTN, we value the trust that customers have put in our brand and we will do all that is necessary to ensure that they have a positive experience when using our services, Gouldie concluded.

Fact sheet on Content Management

When you dial *175#, you will stop receiving unwanted SMS messages, promotional messages, subscription alerts and only allows you to receive the messages you want. MTN is putting the power back in your hands.

Q. What type of SMS messages can I stop?
A. You can stop Promotional Messages and Subscription Alerts.

Q. Where and how can I access this service?
A. The service can be accessed anywhere, anytime on your mobile phone by dialing *196#

Q. What are Promotional Messages?
A. These are messages used to promote various products and services, e.g. wedding meetings, bonus offers or SMS from utility providers and other companies advertising their products.

Q. What are Subscription Alerts?
A. These are any SMS messages from Content Providers that require the receiver to subscribe and be charged for the messages they receive. Examples of such messages include News and Sports or Love tips. When you subscribe to these messages your airtime is deducted each time you receive a message/alert. Charges for subscriptions are indicated when you are subscribing.

Q. Who are Content Providers?
A. These are companies that send information to mobile subscribers through channels like SMS or voice messages. This information might be free or charged. The charged messages are usually referred to as Subscription Alerts.

Q. What happens if I choose to “Stop All” messages?
A. You will not be able to receive any information including transaction alerts from banks, utility payments such as water (NWSC), electricity (UMEME), Pay TV (DStv) or wedding meeting messages.

However, you have the option to allow particular messages as indicated by a Sender ID. For example, if you want to continue receiving messages from UMEME, NWSC or your bank, you dial *196# and select Subscription Alerts, select Alerts by Sender ID, select Allow and enter the Sender ID of the type of message you want to continue receiving.

Q. What is a Sender ID?
A. This is the name of the information/message that you receive. These names could be those of banks, such as DFCU or from utility service providers like UMEME, NWSC and DStv. A Sender ID may also include a number and the topic of the message, e.g. 8008 News, 8198 Sports, 8002 Love among others.

Q. What happens if I want to reactivate receiving messages?
A. The power is in your hands. Simply dial *196#, select Subscription Alerts, select All Alerts or Alerts by Sender ID and follow the prompts. The same process applies when you want to allow Promotional Messages to be sent to you.

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