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Opinions of Monday, 26 May 2014

Columnist: Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

Telecom companies must weed out bad messages online and phones

There is no doubt that telecom companies in Ghana are providing good services needed to get individuals, families and organizations going. As a result of the improvement in telecommunication services, lots of people are able to transact businesses and conduct their family and educational affairs with ease. However, of late some unsolicited messages sent to users of telephones and internets leaves much to be desired.

No day passes without a telephone user receiving messages urging him or her to subscribe to a text short code and pay a specified amount to win cash and other products. The cash rewards range from 5,000 to 50,000 GH? or Dollars. Some of the messages do promise cars, return tickets to and from England, South Africa and the like. No one says all the initiatives are not good. Some genuine companies such as banks, commercial companies, religious bodies, inspirational speakers, and travel agencies are involved in this promotion ventures. However there are some faceless companies and individuals operating in and outside Ghana that are busy cashing in through gambling and fake promotions online. They claim to reward people with hefty sums of money when those people having knowledge of the companies and transactions involved. They do send messages urging winners of nonexistent cash to call particular foreign numbers that have pre-recorded messages. Are the authorities and consumer organizations really not aware of these tricks? If not they must wake up from their deep slumber to act now.

Some questions the telecom companies such as Tigo, Airtel, MTN and Vodafone need to answer are - Are you aware about the modus operandi of these organizations and individuals who use strange foreign telephone numbers, web sites and email addresses? Are you sure they are credible enough to discharge their obligations to their clients?

The telecom companies’ operations are regulated by the national communications authority under the leadership of reputable personalities. Apart from the NTA, the telecom companies also work in tandem with the Ghana telecommunication chamber which is also manned by well trained personnel. Together with the management of the telecom companies in Ghana there is the need for the authorities to review operations of the telecom providers regarding messages. This way all products being churned out could be examined with the view to eliminating the bad ones.

Currently, the clarion call by government and the people is that every industry must produce wholesome products for the consumers. If that is the case, then the earlier the government, the NCA, the Telecom Chamber and the companies act to weed out the bad telecom products and those online, the better.

By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

Executive Director

eanfoworld for sustainable development

abdulai.alhasan@gmail.com/eanfoworld@yahoo.com