The Nigerian Communications Commsision, NCC has given telecoms operators the go-ahead to disconnect banks from the use of the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) over accumulated debt, which has amounted to N120 billion.
Telecom Operators, under the platform of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), yesterday warned that they have endured beyond limits the lingering Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) debt owed them by banks and that they were prepared to disconnect all bank customers currently using the platform anytime soon.
ALTON, in a statement released and signed by its chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, said the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, has granted an approval for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to disconnect Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) if they fail to pay the debt owed to operators for the USSD debt which amounts to over N120 billion.
According to the statement, “The approval was granted because despite multiparty stakeholder efforts to resolve the situation and prevent any impact on services, led by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami and including the Nigerian Communications Commission, the Central Bank of Nigeria, along with MNOs and DMBs, the DMBs have continued to incur greater and greater debt, without making the commensurate payments. Every time some progress is made, the DMBs come up with reasons to take stakeholders several steps back, in this matter.
“Members of the public will recall that MNOs and DMBs have had protracted disagreements concerning the appropriate USSD pricing model for financial transactions, transparency of charges, mode of collection and liability for payment of the outstanding and continuous service fees due to the MNOs, which currently stands at over N120 billion.”
The statement added: “Due to the inability of MNOs and DMBs to reach an agreement on the issues, MNOs in 2021 sought to disconnect DMBs due to the unpaid debts which stood at N42 billion as at that time