Telecommunication operators in Nigeria have reacted hours after the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Patani issued a directive on deactivation of automatic voicemail service on existing phone lines
Isa Patani disclosed that there is a steep exploitation of phone users through the automatic voicemail service which should be accessed at the discretion of the subscriber and not by default.
Patani insisted that voicemail is not a popular service among mobile phone users in Nigeria and also has a language challenge among rural dwellers.
In a statement released by the Spokesperson of the Minister, Uwa Suleiman, the minister reportedly said: ‘’The voicemail service should be accessed at the discretion of the subscriber and not by default. The Honourable Minister finds it worrisome and totally unacceptable, that telecoms subscribers incur financial charges, for a service they are compelled to use by default.
Voicemail is not a popular service among mobile phone users in Nigeria, coupled with the language challenge among rural dwellers, who mostly do not understand the language deployed by these networks.
“In the light of this, Dr Pantami has issued a broad policy directive to the sector regulator Nigerian Communications Commission, to immediately ensure that issues regarding automatic voicemails are addressed on all existing phone lines and the subscribers, given the option of accessing the service via an activation code.”
While reacting to the development, the Chairman of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo disclosed that the issue is a regulatory one and shouldn’t come from the Minister.
“The directive is unclear to us. The issue is a regulatory one and we don’t know why he should issue a directive. It is an issue NCC is capable of handling’’, Adebayo said.