Dam Spam

Written By: The Lowdown - May• 31•13
Northern 2011 09 10 DSC_5138“Y’ello! Now subscribe to Love Quotes …”
“Y’ello! Only MTN Mobile radio gives you latest hits of chartbusters …”
“Important Announcement, Send WIN to 7777 and win …”


These are only a few examples of the spam that I receive on my mobile phone and as can be seen, it is from none other then my service provider, MTN!


But that is not all. A few weeks ago, at the office during prime working hours and my head down in some complex technical stuff, my phone rang. Being accessible to my clients on an almost 24/7 basis is one of the services that I offer. I was thus obligated to answer the phone, only to find that it was MTN with a recording telling me that I could now listen to the radio through my mobile phone!


In September 2011, ZICTA directed that phone companies had to allow subscribers the option to ‘unsubscribe’ from any promotion they may offer.


Looking back at the messages I have received over the last few months, only one SMS gave me an option to unsubscribe.


But it is not only the phone companies (I am reliably informed that Airtel and Zamtel also send out volumes of unsolicited SMS’s.) Recently I received a series of unsolicited SMS’s from the UN office in Zambia and last week from KampalaUniversity. What is this all about?


The continual receipt of this unsolicited marketing material is a violation of my right to choose what marketing, advertising or other information I wish to receive, as well as impinging on my time. This is especially so when the marketing message is received via a phone call with a recorded message.


Phone companies should only be permitted to send out advertising material if a subscriber has signed up to receive such material, rather than sending spam to an entire gamut of numbers, thereby annoying all subscribers. Of course I don’t mind receiving useful bits of information; perhaps notification of an outage for maintenance but I am way past subscribing to ‘Love Quotes’. In fact I grew out of those when I was a teenager. And what, may I ask, are ‘hits of chart busters’. I grew out of these when I was a teenager, as well.

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