Telecos lock horns with banks over unpaid N80bn USSD debt  

Telecommunications operators have threatened to disable debtor banks from using Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD). The operators said they are being owed N80 billion by the defaulting banks.

Gbenga Adebayo, the chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), stated this at an event in Lagos. He said the debt soared from the N40 billion it was one and a half years ago to what it is currently.

The “banks refused to comply and pay as and when due, (so) the debt continue to rise,” he said. The debt had stood at $103million as at December 2019. Weighing in on the dispute, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Communications Commission (NCC) brought the parties to agree on N6.98k USSD charge per transaction. The regulators also agreed that the consumers of banking services bear the cost burden.

Consumertrics reports that Nigerian banks rely on the USSD to offer a range of banking services. The USSD is a protocol that allows banks communicate with customers through text messaging.