MTN subscribers have complained that they are receiving advertisements for subscription services via USSD push messages.
Unlike SMS messages or other forms of spam, you are forced to deal with these messages immediately, as they get displayed over everything else you are doing on your device.
An example of one of these messages is shown in the screenshot below. It states:
Enter the draw to win R500 in airtime!
Join Grocery Deals @ R2.00p/day, get your R2000 grocery coupon.
Click OK to Join!
MyBroadband asked MTN about these messages, specifically whether any of MTN’s third-party wireless application service provider (WASP) partners can advertise over USSD Push, or if this is limited to MTN’s own premium content services.
“These are promotions for services from MTN Play such as MTN Grocery Deals and MTN Arena, sent by MTN not a WASP,” the mobile network operator told MyBroadband.
MTN Grocery Deals is a R2-per-day service, and the MTN Arena website states that it is a R3-per-day service.
MTN also said that no messages are sent to anyone on its “Do Not Contact list”.
Subscribers who do not wish to receive the messages can opt out by adding themselves to the Do Not Contact list, which can be accessed on the MTN website or via *155#, the company stated.
“The promotion follows our standard double opt-in flow so that customers have to confirm their subscription. Customers are also sent an immediate welcome message and will receive 24 hours free access,” MTN said.
Opting out of MTN spam
MTN’s customer support representatives have provided clients with several different sets of instructions to opt out of various kinds of direct marketing.
The first is via the main customer service menu:
- Dial *135#
- Select Prepaid Service or Contract service (option 3)
- Select Change Consent settings
- From there you can change your various consent settings, one at a time: Competitions, Promotions, Personalised Offers, Direct Marketing.
The second via the MTN app:
- Under settings, there is an option for messages consent. You may toggle consent options from there.
The third is via the MTN Subscription Manager:
- Dial *155#
- MTN says to follow the USSD menu.