“Live Screen” is what Mobitel calls sending various service advertisements directly to customers’ phones. They appear like system messages from the phone’s operating system, that have the potential of getting users clicking “OK” (Thus activating the advertised “service”, which has a monthly fee.), believing them to be just a regular dialog box. I explicitly asked Mobitel to not send any “Live Screen” advertisements to me, when I obtained my current SIM card. However, on last 11th, they started sending them again. This blog post publishes how it is being handled.

Tweets

2019-10-11-1636: I received the first “Live Screen” advertisement. I immediately took a screenshot and made a Tweet about it.

2019-10-11-1703: I sent another tweet with additional information making a thread of Tweets.

2019-10-11-1720: I went to the “SIM Toolkit” app in my phone, thinking to deactivate “Live Screen” again. Another advertisement just appeared! Note: I am using the timestamps from Tweets to annotate this, but the screenshot shows the time as 1701h.

2019-10-11-1734: I sent an email to “info@mobitel.lk” and “dgtsl@trc.gov.lk”, and then tweeted about it with screenshots.

2019-10-11-1816: I tweeted this:

2019-10-12-1318: My friend Sandun Pushpakumara had also received these. He also had disabled “Live Screen”. This proves that what I am facing is not an isolated incident, and Mobitel is doing this to many people.

More Tweets are likely to be added to this thread. You can see the entire thread by visiting the original Tweet: https://twitter.com/budhajeewa/status/1182614967935213568.

Emails

From: Supun Budhajeewa budhajeewa@gmail.com
Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2019 at 17:19
Subject: Mobitel is Sending Unsolicited Spams that Subscribe
Users to Unwanted Subscriptions
To: info@mobitel.lk
Cc: dgtsl@trc.gov.lk

Mobitel,

See the attached screenshots.

When I obtained my current SIM card, I explicitly asked your
Customer Service to stop sending me any promotional
material. I also disabled “Live Screen”, which is the name
given to the spamming messages by your company.

However, out of nowhere, your company started sending me
unsolicited prompts on my smartphone screen, that would
immediately subscribe my account to unwanted subscriptions
if I happened to click on the “OK” button even accidentally.

You did not get my consent to reactivate “Live Screen”.

Take necessary actions to stop sending unsolicited prompts
effective immediate.



TRCSL,
For your information, and taking necessary actions.

From: Supun Budhajeewa budhajeewa@gmail.com
Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2019 at 17:24
Subject: Re: Mobitel is Sending Unsolicited Spams that
Subscribe Users to Unwanted Subscriptions
To: info@mobitel.lk
Cc: dgtsl@trc.gov.lk

Social media posts I made regarding this issue:

– https://twitter.com/budhajeewa/status/1182614967935213568
(Threaded Tweet. More information in other Tweets in the
thread.)

– https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10216919705238096
(More information in comments of the post.)

From: Mobitel Info info@mobitel.lk
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 2019 at 11:22
Subject: RE: Mobitel is Sending Unsolicited Spams that Subscribe Users to Unwanted Subscriptions
To: Supun Budhajeewa budhajeewa@gmail.com
Cc: dgtsl@trc.gov.lk dgtsl@trc.gov.lk

Dear Mr. Budhajeewa, This is with reference to your email.

Firstly, please accept our sincere apologies for any inconveniences caused to you in this regard.

We would appreciate if you could send us the Mobitel number and a contact number in order to assist you further pertaining to the issue highlighted in your email.

We are always available to serve you oninfo@mobitel.lk

 Thank you.
Yours Sincerely,
Nirasha Fernando
Executive – Customer Resolutions Management

From: Supun Budhajeewa budhajeewa@gmail.com
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 2019 at 12:40
Subject: Re: Mobitel is Sending Unsolicited Spams that Subscribe Users to Unwanted Subscriptions
To: Mobitel Info info@mobitel.lk
Cc: dgtsl@trc.gov.lk dgtsl@trc.gov.lk

My Mobitel number is ___.

You can contact me using the same.

From: Mobitel Info info@mobitel.lk
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 2019 at 15:47
Subject: RE: Mobitel is Sending Unsolicited Spams that Subscribe Users to Unwanted Subscriptions
To: Supun Budhajeewa budhajeewa@gmail.com
Cc: dgtsl@trc.gov.lk dgtsl@trc.gov.lk

Dear Mr. Budhakeewa,

 Regarding Mobitel Number ___

 This is with reference to your email.

 We write to confirm having taken the necessary steps to block unnecessary features from accessing the above stated Mobitel connection.

 Therefore, we would appreciate if you could restart your device in order to avoid the advertisements/SMS pertaining to the same.

 Once again, please accept our sincere apologies for any inconveniences caused to you in this regard.

 We are always available to serve you oninfo@mobitel.lk

 Thank you.
Yours Sincerely,
Nirasha Fernando
Executive – Customer Resolutions Management

From: Supun Budhajeewa budhajeewa@gmail.com
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 2019 at 16:54
Subject: Re: Mobitel is Sending Unsolicited Spams that Subscribe Users to Unwanted Subscriptions
To: Mobitel Info info@mobitel.lk
Cc: dgtsl@trc.gov.lk dgtsl@trc.gov.lk, Sandun Pushpakumara ssandunp@gmail.com

Thank you.

But this is not an isolated incident concerning only me.

One of my friends, Sandun Pushpakumara (CCed.), who also had disabled “Live Screen”, started receiving these prompts today. We have justified reasons to suspect that your company is trying to make money off of people who mistakenly click “OK” on these prompts.

I almost clicked “OK” on the first prompt sent to me, thinking that it was a notification about the phone being connected to the PC, as I had just plugged the cable from PC into the phone.

Also, my name is “Budhajeewa”, not “Budhakeewa”.

From: Mobitel Info info@mobitel.lk
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2019 at 11:11
Subject: RE: Mobitel is Sending Unsolicited Spams that Subscribe Users to Unwanted Subscriptions
To: Supun Budhajeewa budhajeewa@gmail.com
Cc: dgtsl@trc.gov.lk dgtsl@trc.gov.lk, Sandun Pushpakumara ssandunp@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Budhajeewa,

 Regarding Mobitel Number ___

 This is with reference to your email.

 Firstly, please accept our sincere apologies for mentioning your name incorrectly.

 Further, we wish to confirm having completed necessary investigations with regard to the highlighted issue and would like to bring to your kind notice the following consideration.

  We write to inform you that ‘Live Screen’ is an Interactive Flash service appearing on the idle screen offering various text services like Tips & Trivia, updates, Factoids, Jokes, Coupons etc.. The service can be activated through the Mobitel SIM menu or by clicking on one of their web banners which are advertised on third party websites.

 Please note that it is with customer’s consent the service will get activated for a particular number. Further, an SMS will also be forwarded to the respective number in order to confirm the service activation.

 However, Mobitel’ s intervention to the above process is only as the billing party between the Live Screen company and our customers. Hence, we pay back the respective company for the services that our customers have acquired from them.

We Trust the explained information was of some assistance to you.We are always available to serve you oninfo@mobitel.lk

Thank you.
Yours Sincerely,
Nirasha Fernando
Executive – Customer Resolutions Management

From: Supun Budhajeewa budhajeewa@gmail.com
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2019 at 12:27
Subject: Re: Mobitel is Sending Unsolicited Spams that Subscribe Users to Unwanted Subscriptions
To: Mobitel Info info@mobitel.lk
Cc: dgtsl@trc.gov.lk dgtsl@trc.gov.lk, Sandun Pushpakumara ssandunp@gmail.com

I have not subscribed to any service through “Live Screen”.

My issue is receiving advertisements asking to subscribe to those subscriptions.

Didn’t you see the screenshots I attached in the first email?

From: Mobitel Info info@mobitel.lk
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2019 at 12:59
Subject: RE: Mobitel is Sending Unsolicited Spams that Subscribe Users to Unwanted Subscriptions
To: Supun Budhajeewa budhajeewa@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Budhajeewa,

Regarding Mobitel Number ___

Thank you for contacting Mobitel Customer Care.

 We are sorry for the inconvenience that may have caused you.

 As informed, we write to confirm having taken the necessary steps to block unnecessary features from accessing the above stated Mobitel connection.

 Therefore, pleaseswitch off your mobile, remove the SIM and re insert it in order to avoid the advertisements/SMS pertaining to the same.

 We are always available to serve you oninfo@mobitel.lk

 Thank you.
Yours Sincerely,
  Sandani Belungala
Executive – Customer Resolutions Management

From: Supun Budhajeewa budhajeewa@gmail.com
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2019 at 13:48
Subject: Re: Mobitel is Sending Unsolicited Spams that Subscribe Users to Unwanted Subscriptions
To: Mobitel Info info@mobitel.lk
Cc: dgtsl@trc.gov.lk, Sandun Pushpakumara ssandunp@gmail.com

Sandani,

Firstly, why did you remove TRCSL and Sandun Pushpakumara from the email thread?

Secondly, why do I have to do any of these at all? I had already opted out of “Live Screen” when I obtained the current SIM. Why did your company reactivate it without my consent?

Thirdly, this is not an incident pertaining only to me. Sandun Pushpakumar (CC’ed in this email thread.), also experienced this. That means you’re doing this not only to me, but to other customers as well.

From: Mobitel Info info@mobitel.lk
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2019 at 14:15
Subject: RE: Mobitel is Sending Unsolicited Spams that Subscribe Users to Unwanted Subscriptions
To: Supun Budhajeewa budhajeewa@gmail.com
Cc: dgtsl@trc.gov.lk dgtsl@trc.gov.lk, ssandunp@gmail.com ssandunp@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Budhajeewa,

Regarding Mobitel Number ___

Firstly, please accept our sincere apologies if our service did not meet your expectations.

As we informed, please note that it is with customer’s consent the service will get activated for a particular number. Further, an SMS will also be forwarded to the respective number in order to confirm the service activation.

Once again please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused and we trust the explained information was of some assistance to you.

 We are always available to serve you oninfo@mobitel.lk Thank you.

Yours Sincerely,
  Sandani Belungala
Executive – Customer Resolutions Management

From: Supun Budhajeewa budhajeewa@gmail.com
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2019 at 06:55
Subject: Re: Mobitel is Sending Unsolicited Spams that Subscribe Users to Unwanted Subscriptions
To: Mobitel Info info@mobitel.lk
Cc: dgtsl@trc.gov.lk dgtsl@trc.gov.lk, ssandunp@gmail.com ssandunp@gmail.com

Sandani,

You either do not understand what I said.

Or you are deliberately acting like you don’t understand it.

If it is the first case, please get someone with the appropriate knowledge to handle this case. If it is the latter, do not presume that your customers are fools, and try to avoid the real issue.

I am not talking about any service being activated on my number. I am talking about you sending adverts that looks similar to system messages from the mobile OS, and misleading people to accidentally clicking “OK” and then subscribing them to various “services”. Do you or do you not understand what I just said?

Did you see the screenshot I attached in the first email in this thread? I am reattaching it in this email as well. Look at it, and tell me what it is.