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Telcos Threaten To Cult Off Banks’ USSD Services Over N80bn Debts

Telecom operators (Telcos) under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) on Thursday threatened to withdraw the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) that they offer to banks following an accumulated debt amounting to over N80 billion owed the operators by the banks.

If they fulfill their threat to disrupt the USSD service, bank customers would not be able to carry out financial transactions on their mobile phones, while using the USSD codes which are operated without the use of data and mobile app.

The Chairman of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, who revealed this on Thursday in Lagos, at a technology event organised by the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA), with the theme: ‘Creating A Digital Ecosystem in Nigeria-The Hurdles, The gains,’ said the banks failed to honour the payment agreement reached between them and telcos, for over two years, hence the debt accumulated to over N80 billion.

According to him, the last option left for telcos was to withdraw the service, which the banks had been benefitting from without settling their own part of the agreement.

Adebayo said while some banks have responded and making payments, others have remained unconcerned.

He added that telecommunication operators may decentralise the USSD services based on the accumulated debts from most banks.

According to Adebayo, “When the matter first came to the fore about a year and half ago, the debt was below N40 billion, but because they refused to comply and pay as at when due, the debt continued to rise. Today, it is over N80 billion.”

Adebayo threatened that the USSD service ties may be cut off from defaulting banks.

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