Service blocks unwanted direct marketing SMSes

Any South African cellphone user can add or remove their mobile number from the Do Not Contact list. Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

SA’s Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) has launched a virtual “Do Not Disturb” service that can prevent unwanted direct marketing intrusions by SMS.

Any South African cellphone user can add or remove their mobile number from the Do Not Contact (DNC) list by clicking here which will ensure that SMS-based direct marketing messages from WASPA members and their clients reach mobile users who want them.

Numbers can also be removed from the weekly-updated database.

“Those mobile users who wish to safeguard their privacy when it comes to direct marketing messages will find the DNC database especially useful,” explains WASPA general manager, Ilonka Badenhorst.

WASPA plays a key role in regulating the provision of mobile applications and services in South Africa. Membership of WASPA is recommended, and often compulsory, for any firm wanting to provide mobile content services to the country’s millions prepaid and contract cellular users. All WASPA members must abide by the code of conduct.

Mobile users can also access the DNC using USSD by dialling the code *120*69269# or by sending “block” to short code 40662. USSD access costs 20c per 20 seconds and messages to short code 40662 are billed at standard subscriber bundle SMS rates, or up to 50c per message. Free SMSs don’t apply.

DNC is a list to block direct marketing SMSs only. It does not block other types of mobile services delivered by SMS, such as subscription or notification services.

It cannot block direct marketing SMS messages transmitted by firms outside of SA who are not WASPA members.

Consumers must only provide the phone numbers they want blocked and the DNC database contains no other personal information.