The only message that stretches Econet customers faces to smiles, grins or a jolly mood is the +263164 especially when you are on the much anticipated good side of the ‘receiving end’ not the bad one expecting an Ecocash transfer message.
Now waiting for such a kind ‘miracle money’ your phone vibrates or rings. Upon trying to see whether the message reads up to expectations … Wait for it!!!!!!!! Baaam!!!Topping the charts is the Econet’s Elevate program for budding entrepreneurs pregnant with rhetoric questions.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
“Are you between the ages of 16-34 years? Do you want opportunities that will change your life? Then register on ELEVATE for FREE- Dial *771# today,” reads the message.
Then this other scenario. You are on the waiting line for a job, holding your breath, waiting for a call from a company. Your cellphone, smartphone or feature phone rings while you are waiting to be called for a job opening or job interview you have been sleeplessly praying for. Unemployment is high although the new President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised to be ‘working on it’.
Romantics might be anticipating a very important call probably from your partner too.
But the phone’s user interface aka display greets you with a 150. That’s Telecel call centre number which is so caring enough to check on its clients.
Then comes in NetOne pushing for their Easy Call SMS Quiz promotion.
“Join EASY CALL SMS QUIZ to Win 2 Grand Prizes Next Week! USD 1000 CASH on 31 DEC! Start 2018 with Mega CASH! Reply with E!,” reads NetOne’s campaign.
You see, Zimbabweans have endured the brunt of mobile network operators bombarding them with spam messages. As if this is not enough they have fallen prey to what spam calling, an ingenious marketing tool employed by these companies.
Thinking Econet’s spamming was only restricted to SMSes, a customer who requested anonymity revealed that she receives calls from Econet on their Caller Tune product, Buddie Beats.
“I have been receiving calls from Econet on their caller tune product Buddie Beats,” said the customer.
With Zimbabwe’s mobile penetration slightly surpassing the 100 percent mark, this becomes a cause of concern more.
Spams started as emails. Email spam, also known as unsolicited bulk email (UBE), junk mail, or unsolicited commercial email (UCE), is the practice of sending unwanted email messages, frequently with commercial content, in large quantities to an indiscriminate set of recipients.
With time they evolved to spam SMSes, Spam Calling not forgetting how they infiltrated into social media via WhatsApp badgering users with hoax messages and chain messages appearing ‘Holier than Thou’
Instant messaging systems, such as Telegram, WhatsApp, Twitter Direct Messaging, Kik, Skype, Messenger and Snapchat are all targets for spammers. Many IM services are publicly linked to social media platforms, which may include information on the user such as age, sex, location and interests. Advertisers and scammers can gather this information, sign on to the service, and send unsolicited messages which could contain scam links, pornographic material, malware or ransomware. With most services users can report and block spam accounts, or set privacy settings so only contacts can contact them.
And at one workshop organized by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe in Masvingo and another ICT parliamentary portfolio committee hearing, both Members of Parliament learnt that these messages could be stopped.
Legislators representing their constituencies are on record complaining how these messages are a distraction.
They were crying fowl saying they did not solicit for these messages. To be euphemistic, they said they don’t recall asking for these promo messages. There were those messages that ended with giving customers the option to STOP getting the messages.
Promo spam messages are insightful when in just introducing a new product not when continuously bombarded with them. More so, when you have no option but just to read it. Or better yet ignore it.
Disclaimer: While this looks like Im taunting our mobile service providers, let it be on record that while I’m representing the views of the populace, they should also take it as a plus side on them as their messages, calls are being noticed.