4 December 2012

Tanzania: TCRA Trumps 'No Texts, Calls' Option

MOBILE phone operators should provide customers with an option to block unwanted text messages and phone calls on various services and offers by the operators, the industry regulator has urged.

Customers, on the other hand, should ensure that they read and understand the terms and conditions set by the companies before subscribing to such services or other offers. Subscribers of mobile phone companies in Tanzania have, for a long time now, complained about the 'irritating' unsolicited messages (SMS) and phone calls, which are sometimes charged.

"Most people hardly read the terms and conditions set by the firms and this is not proper. They should understand such conditions before joining the service provider of their choice," the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) Manager for Communications, Mr Innocent Mungy, said.

Mr Mungy made the remarks during a brief interview shortly after a press conference on the Annual Broadcasters' Meeting slated for Thursday, this week. "We have met with officials of the mobile companies in connection with complaints from members of the public on the unsolicited text messages and phone calls," Mr Mungy, said.

For some time now, it has been a trend by mobile phone operators to send unsolicited text messages and making phone calls to their customers informing them about new products, services and offers among others. Meanwhile, Vice-President, Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal, is expected to grace the Annual Broadcasters' Conference to be held on Thursday in Dar es Salaam.

Briefing journalists, TCRA's Acting Director General, Ms Rehema Makuburi, said the conference with a theme; 'Beyond analogue switch-off: Challenges and Opportunities' will attract 200 participants. "The participants will include all licensed broadcasters in Tanzania as well as national broadcasting organizations and regulators from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi," Ms Makuburi said.

The annual conference will also be attended by exhibitors of digital broadcasting equipment from Tanzania, Kenya, France, South Africa as well as Italy and the United Kingdom. Before the meeting, TCRA will also conduct a one-day workshop to discuss the challenges of broadcasting in the digital environment and a case for establishment of an independent National Broadcasters' Association.

According to Ms Makuburi, the theme for the workshop is; 'Challenges of Broadcasting in the Digital Environment.' The TCRA Director of Broadcasting, Mr Habbi Gunze, said that as the East African Community (EAC) gears up for the analogue switch-off on December 31, this year, some members of the public are still unaware of the new technology.

The migration from analogue is intended to pave the way for full digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcasting in Tanzania. The Minister for Information, Youth, Culture and Sports, Dr Fenella Mukangara, is expected to officially close the conference. The Minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Prof. Makame Mbarawa, is also expected to attend the event.

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