The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications has disassociated itself from unsolicited political short messages (SMS) which are being sent mobile phone subscribers.
In a statement, the Chamber which represents three telecommunications operators namely AirtelTigo, MTN and Vodafone said its members are politically neutral and their operating policies prohibit the promotion of any political party.
The statement signed by the Chamber’s CEO, Mr Ken Ashigbey adds that no Mobile Network Operator has sent out any unsolicited text messages for and on behalf of any political party.
“The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications has noted with concern, customer complaints across various media relating to a recent political party’s unsolicited message. The Chamber would like to state unequivocally that its members, the mobile network operators (MNOs), are politically neutral, and their policies and principles prohibit the promotion of any political party,” the Chamber said in a statement.
The statement comes after some telecommunications customers who received the unsolicited text messages (below) over the weekend raised concerns as to how the senders obtained their telephone numbers.
Similar messages also made the rounds before the voter registration exercise in June.
According to the Chamber, such unsolicited messages could come from any source which has a subscriber in their database.
Providing clarification as to how the text messages were sent to the public, the Chamber explained that “political parties rely on content providers to do bulk SMS transfers on their behalf. Content providers build databases of phone numbers from various sources including online, social media etc. Political Parties have access to data which they get through their own sources including their fundraising activities and other events.”
It also stated that its members do not give out contacts of their subscribers to content providers or marketers for targeting.
The statement urges “customers who wish to unsubscribe from UECs of any kind should type STOP (space) SENDERS’ NAME and send to the number from which the message or call was sent to stop receiving such messages”, adding that “if the UECs persists, contact your service provider to omit you from the promotional list and the Regulator as last resort.”