Banking customers will soon be unable to access the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service as telecommunications operators in Nigeria threatens to withdraw their service support.
The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr Gbenga Adebayo made this call today in Lagos while speaking with Pressmen at the NITRA ICT Growth Conference 2.0 organised by the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters’ Association.
Adebayo who announced that the matter has gone unaddressed and controversy remains said the USSD Debt has now increased to N80 Billion.
Recall, Business Remarks reported last year that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said a meeting was convened to resolve the N42bn Unstructured Supplementary Service Data debt issue between the telecom operators and the banks in the country.
USSD is a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) protocol that is used to send text messages. This is similar to Short Message Service (SMS) but in the banking industry, allows users without a smartphone or data and internet connection to do mobile banking through the use of codes. USSD-based mobile banking can be used for fund transfers, checking account balances, and generating bank statements, among other uses.
The huge debts came as a result of deductions made by way of commission by the banks during banking transactions but were never remitted to the telecomm operators that own the infrastructure on which the transactions rode.
The ALTON Boss said that the telcos have continued to provide access to USSD infrastructure despite the debt owed by the banks, the major beneficiaries of the USSD code.
The ongoing crisis had therefore led to a new threat by the telcos, which planned to disconnect the banks from further having access to the service.
Adebayo also clarifies that since the banks debit their customers for use of the USSD channels and also plan to increase the charges, the debt has to be settled.
He added that telcos hoped that the regulators (CBN and NCC) having intervened by preventing operators to disconnect the USSD services will resolve the lingering debt issues but unfortunately the crisis remains.
(More Details Coming Soon…)