WASPAG rolls out phase two of educational campaign

Wireless Application Service Providers Association of Ghana (WASPAG) has rolled out second phase of its educational campaign.

A release from the wireless providers stated that “consider this; a 70-year-old man, whose knowledge of technology ends with his ‘Yam’ phone and his television set, receives a message that he has been subscribed to a service that offers free maternity advice.

“He’s upset and confused for two main reasons.”

It added that “Firstly, he is absolutely sure he has not subscribed to the service. After all, what would he be seeking maternity advice for, he asks?

“Secondly, if only he knew how to unsubscribe. Unfortunately, the message offers no instruction on that.”

“This is what is commonly referred to as SPAM! When a phone user receives messages that he or she hasn’t solicited or subscribed to, this is SPAM.”

“So, what is the legitimate and acceptable way for a Subscriber to receive a message? What is the acceptable value chain?”

The release indicated that the value chain for delivering messages starts from Value added Services Providers (VASPs) pushing content through the mobile networks, within a pre-approved agreement, to their customers, via their mobile handsets.

“As part of this agreement, messages will be sent to their subscribers only if they choose to subscribe to the services offered and are willing to pay the costs associated with the service.”

Value added service providers
There is no question about the value and worth of messages that VASPs offer.

VASPs satisfy the lifestyle demands of mobile phone users.

Most popular amongst them are religious and other infotainment services like football updates and current affairs. Recently, some service providers like NGO’s partner with Mobile networks or VAS players on a sponsored basis, to provide vital services like maternity information (Grameen foundation) and Crop information to Farmers. Other services include Ring Back Tones (RBT), Digital Marketing, SMS Notification Tracks Play, download and Ring Tones, Sports and Infotainment Services, Location Based Services, Missed Call Alerts and Voice Mail Box and Mobile Advertisements and many more.

Like any other sector which is focused on customer satisfaction, the unpleasantness associated with abuse when consumers get rundown with services they did not subscribe to, nor which they can sign out off, continues to be a major concern to the leadership of WASPAG, the umbrella body of VASPs.

Reporting abuse
The Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association of Ghana (WASPAG), has since its formation in December 2012 worked tirelessly with the partnership of its stakeholders; the mobile Telecommunication Networks, the National Communications Authority (NCA) and the Telecom Chamber to create a well-regulated environment which is progressively productive and also ensures members work by approved standards to give to consumers of their services, satisfaction without abuse.

Most recently, the association organized an educational campaign dubbed, the “S T O P” campaign, which focused primarily on teaching consumers how to unsubscribe to any unsolicited or unwanted service rendered by any Value Added Service Provider (VASPs)
Customers who experience situations like that of the 70-year-old dad above, can report abuse via our WASPAG website www.waspag.com.

WASPAG members have committed to completely curb the spate of multiple unsolicited messages that often disturb the peace of mobile users.

WASPAG’S contribution to the Ghanaian economy
Currently, the association offers employment directly to the younger generation who are keen on software and content development. Indirectly, VAS players also offer employment through the purchase of content from various sources like musicians, game developers etc. providing a means of livelihood to over 10,000 people.

The sector generates over GHC250m revenue annually, and contributes to the economic growth of the country through the payments of various taxes which include both corporate and communication taxes.

Most of the varied rich content customers enjoy on their mobile phone via their SIM tool kit and other USSD services are the brainwork of the VAS providers. Through constant innovation, VASPs, are able to provide for the Mobile networks, the much craved diversity and up-to-date rich content via data or SMS services.

The future for WASPAG
Our industry is growing every day and we continue to strive to put in place the various regulations that see to the protection of the end users of our services and also continue to protect the value provided by local content. Our vision is a fair and multi diverse sector where customers enjoy the innovative rich content we offer. Within the industry, WASPAG also aims to work with the NCA and the Mobile networks to ensure more Ghanaian owned companies are given the first right to serve local content to Ghanaians. Most VASPs also operate internationally, and it is our objective to continue to expand across Regional and international boundaries to increase external inflows and help improve Ghana’s Balance of Payment position.

By: Franklin Badu Jnr/citifmonline.com/Ghana