The Observer (Kampala)

13 August 2014

Uganda: MTN Sued Over Junk, Bulk SMS

For sending him unsolicited electronic messages, a client, Peter Magelah Gwayaka has sued MTN Uganda Limited.

Gwayaka in his suit filed at the High Court in Nakawa, says that between May and April 2014, MTN sent him several unsolicited commercial communications reading: "Y'ello the MTN Expo opens today. Come experience world-class internet at Ham Towers Makerere from 9am to 8pm. Lots of prices to be won. Thank you."

Through the Centre for Legal Aid, Gwayaka argues that MTN's continued transmission of the said electronic messages violates articles 21(1)(2), 26(1)(2), 27(2) and 45 of the Constitution.

"The defendant's [MTN] high volumes of junk SMS advertisements slow down communications between the plaintiff, his clients and other subscribers by congesting the plaintiff's equipment, thus causing him to spend time and money wading through messages that he does not want," the plaint partly reads.

"The defendant [MTN] evaded the duty of care it owed to the plaintiff [Gwayaka] to implement, at the defendant's own cost, reasonable technological means designed to screen out the SMS messages complained of and block their receipt by the plaintiff," Gwayaka complains.

Gwayaka wants, "A declaration that the conduct of the defendant in repeatedly transmitting unsolicited SMS advertisements to the plaintiff's Sim card, cellular phone and/or other computer equipment constitutes an actionable tort of negligence."

Interviewed yesterday, MTN Corporate Affairs Manager Justina Ntabgoba-Kayemba said she wasn't aware of the suit.

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