WASPA Launches Mobile “Do Not Disturb”

Published on: 19th August 2020

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

Any SA cellular user can add or remove their mobile number from the DNC list by visiting www.dnc.org.za. The database ensures SMS-based direct marketing messages from WASPA members and their clients only reach mobile users who wish to receive them. Numbers can also be removed from the weekly-updated database.

“Mobile content and applications developed by WASPA members have been literal lifesavers during these last few months. Mobility enables more of us to stay at home and keep safe by reducing our exposure to the outside world. There are, however, mobile users who wish to safeguard their privacy when it comes to direct marketing messages and the DNC database will be especially useful to them,” explains WASPA General Manager, Ilonka Badenhorst.

As well as representing the interests of WASPA’s members, 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.

Central to WASPA membership is the Association’s Code of Conduct according to which all WASPA members must abide. The Code is regularly fine-tuned in the interests of both WASPA members and the SA mobile consumer and now specifically provides for the establishment of the DNC database.

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 is charged at 20c per 20 seconds and messages to short code 40662 are billed at standard subscriber bundle SMS rates, alternatively up to 50c per message. Free SMSs don’t apply.

When it comes to commercial messaging, the text message, in particular, has undergone a transformation. Mobile users today appreciate receiving SMSs from their banks, insurance firms and other commercial partners because they often contain useful information that helps them transact better. While SMS-based direct marketing messages too fulfil a useful role, some consumers have communicated their desire for a DNC database of the kind that WASPA has now launched.

It must be noted that the 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.

The service also cannot block direct marketing SMS messages transmitted by firms – particularly outside of SA – who are not WASPA members. It’s important to note that consumers only have to provide the phone numbers they want blocked – no other personal information is required to be added to the DNC database. Finally, the list only contains mobile phone numbers and no other personal information.

WASPA was founded in 2004 to represent the interests of mobile content and applications providers in South Africa and enjoys the full support of the mobile network operators that together serve all of the country’s mobile users.