May 12, 2023

Telcos’ umbrella body confirms withdrawal of USSD services to banks

Telcos’ umbrella body confirms withdrawal of USSD services to banks

By Prince Osuagwu, Hi-Tech Editor

Umbrella body of the telcom companies, the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators in Nigeria, ALTON, has provided more details on its dispute with Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) over N120b USSD debt.

ALTON issued a statement on Friday to confirm that its members have gotten the nod to withdraw USSD services rendered to the banks.

The statement jointly signed by the Chairman and Head of Operations of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo and Gbolahan Awonuga respectively, said the approval was granted because despite multi-party stakeholder efforts to resolve the situation and prevent any impact on services, especially the efforts made by the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami and the NCC, the banks have continued to incur greater and greater debt, without making the commensurate payments.

According to the statement, “every time some progress is made, the Deposit Money Banks, DMBs come up with reasons to take stakeholders several steps back, in this matter.”

” Members of the public will recall that Mobile Network Operators, 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).

“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 of that time.

” It is now obvious that the level of debt is unsustainable given the time/value huge cost of the continuous upgrade and operation of the systems and infrastructure dedicated to supporting USSD transactions of DMBs.

“In view of the foregoing, unless DBMs meet their debt obligations, MNOs will disconnect all banks indebted to them for USSD services rendered, ” the statement added.

Although, the statement did not state when the action will take effect, Vanguard gathered reliably, that disconnection started 7.00pm today.