Mobile phone users can stop receiving promotional messages on their handsets by dialling codes, said the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) in a notice yesterday.
The notice comes amid complaints from users of being bombarded with numerous marketing messages regularly. Because of the receipt of so many messages, many important messages sometimes remain unnoticed, they said.
Mobile phone operators and BTRC officials said the scope to prevent the promotional messages from coming in had been in place for several years.
However, subscribers were unaware of the facility. And neither the BTRC nor telecom operators have made users aware of the scope.
Anyone unwilling to receive marketing SMSs can dial shortcodes and activate the Do Not Disturb (DND) option.
To activate the service, Grameenphone users have to dial *121*1101# and Banglalink users *121*8*6#. For Robi and Airtel, it is *7#, said the telecom regulator.
After the BTRC notice, which was issued to the media for broadcasting, many mobile phone users started dialling the codes to stop the flow of the promotional messages from various products and service sellers.
Yet, many have not been able to activate the DND option, with a return notification saying, "Sorry, your request failed due to technical reason."
Some got notification such as 'connection problem or invalid MMI code.'
Some were initially successful and got a notification that said the request would be processed within 72 hours or as soon as possible.
Mahbubur Rahman, a government official, said he received 10-12 messages daily.
"It is annoying," he said. "It should be the choice of the customers whether the person wants to receive such messages or not."
Just after the BTRC notice, Rahman followed the instruction and used the code. He got the message, which said the request would be processed within the next 72 hours.
Contacted, BTRC Vice-Chairman Subrata Roy Maitra said most of the mobile phone users were unaware of the DND as the operators did not campaign about the feature among the subscribers.
"We have asked the operators to inform their subscribers and ensure the service. We have also taken steps to raise awareness among the mobile phone users," he said.
On the issue of the problems faced by subscribers to activate the DND service, he said the BTRC would look into the issue.
SM Farhad, secretary of the Association of Mobile Phone Operators of Bangladesh, said the scope to check the flow of promotional messages by dialling code had been in place. However, people were not that much aware.