Nigeria Telcos to Banks, ‘Pay or Get Disconnected from USSD Service’

Telecommunications companies have asked banks to pay for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) or they will be disconnected

This was disclosed by a reliable source who said that the companies under the protection of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operations of Nigeria (ALTON) will no longer be offering USSD services to financial institutions for free, adding that they have to pay if they want to continue to receive it.

Speaking on the matter, ALTON chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, said network operators incurred costs daily for providing the services. “The USSD is a service we are providing for the banks and there is a cost incurred by telecom operators for providing those services,” Adebayo said.

The telecoms companies agreed to take a cut of #4.50k per 20 seconds from every charge paid by customers. The decision was however greeted with great disagreement from banks who believed the amount would raise costs by 450 percent.

“The bank has given an erroneous impression to the public that it is a sunk cost and it is not because for the service to be allowed, the cell site must be powered, there must be a transmission link available and our systems must interconnect with the systems of the banks. It is a recurring cost other than the initial capital.” Adebayo stated further.

Adebayo, who believes that banks should charge its subscribers if they don’t want to be charged said, ” A time will come when we will have to invoke our rights under the Communications Act, which allows us to seek a request to disconnect the link.” He added.

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