In a directive issued today, the Minister of Telecommunications and Technology Dr. Abdiweli Abdillahi Soufi has banned advertisement text messages sent by telecommunications providers to their customers on behalf of business customers.
Telesom and Somtel, the two telecommunications companies that provide cellphone service, send an inordinate amount of unsolicited text messages to their customers.
The Minister’s directive states that if telecom providers violate the ban of unsolicited messages to customers without their permission will result in a 70 million Somaliland Shillings or 8,000 US dollar fine as defined by Somaliland Telecommunications Law. The directive does not specify an avenue for the public can report infractions to the Ministry of Telecommunications and Technology.
The Ministry of Telecommunication and Technology exerts minimal control and oversight on powerful telecommunications companies and has been unsuccessful in inter-connect the two cellphone carriers of Telesom and Somtel despite many promises.
In addition to the telecommunication service, Telesom and Somtel are also part of the two major banking conglomerates of Dara Salaam Bank and Dahabshiil Bank, which own and operate Zaad and E-Dahab digital currencies widely used throughout Somaliland.
Efforts to reach the telecom companies for comments were unsuccessful.