As part of its efforts to protect its subscribers, Smart Communications has sanctioned 50 content providers (CPs) for violating guidelines on the sale and provision of value added services.
Since SMART started implementing more stringent rules in mid-2006 following a mandate by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), CPs have been penalized for more than 250 infractions.
“The most common cases are unwanted subscriptions to various services, the launch of new services by CPs without SMART’s prior clearance, and the failure of CPs to unsubscribe or deactivate the services,” said Roy Ibay, head of regulatory compliance at Smart.
“As a result of our efforts, the incidence of such violations has steadily gone down over the past few years, “ he added.
Major violations by CPs include failure to deactivate VAS subscriptions; sending cross-selling text messages to subscribers without prior approval by SMART; and failure to follow content delivery format and parameters.
“Our users should receive a welcome message that includes the promo offer itself, instructions on how to subscribe or opt-in, how to unsubscribe or opt-out, tariff and the frequency of the delivery of the service,” said SMART Public Affairs Group head Ramon R. Isberto.
Minor infractions by CPs include failure to follow the standard opt-out message, failure to submit a weekly report to SMART that lists the mobile phone numbers of subscribers that have enrolled in various VAS subscriptions, failure to process opt-out requests of subscribers within 24 hours, among others.
Ibay said violators were given sanctions that range from warning letters to, one-month suspensions, to termination of contract.
“We are strictly enforcing our guidelines to ensure that our subscribers are properly protected,” added Isberto.