Telecom operators threaten to cut USSD services due to banks’ 80 billion naira debt

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) says it may be forced to stop Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services because banks have failed to pay for the services rendered.

Debt has now risen to 80 billion naira from 42 billion naira earlier this year, ALTON chairman Gbenga Adebayo said at an ICT growth conference in Lagos on Thursday.

Mr. Adebayo noted that despite the government’s intervention in the matter, many banks were not cooperating with regard to the payment of their debt.

“Some banks are reacting, some are not. We are approaching the time when we have no choice but to stop providing services to banks.

“I think it’s disgraceful that our colleagues in this sector know they have an obligation to service providers and then walk away.

“Banks collect fees from their customers but refuse to pay the telecom operators. You don’t expect us to continue to provide services, while you’re not paying,” ALTON’s president said.

He added that the irony of the situation was that if it was the other way around, you couldn’t owe the bank a penny.

Telecom operators had threatened to withdraw their USSD services to financial institutions from March 15, 2021 due to the accumulated debt of N42 billion.

However, following the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the planned action was abandoned.

The two parties (the telcos and the banks) met with representatives of the federal government.

Following the meeting, the CBN and NCC announced the introduction of N6.98 per transaction as new fees for customers using USSD services effective March 16, 2021.


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