Telcos seek NCC approval to disconnect banks over N80 billion debt


By Fatima Kabir

Telecommunication operators have reached out to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for approval to phase out the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data offered to banks due to over N80bn.

The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, have reportedly said that the operators had sought regulatory approval to implement partial removal of the USSD services on Thursday.

“We have sought regulatory approval to pursue partial removal. We would start disconnecting those who owe us in batches, a highest debtor scenario.

“We don’t know as regards the timing because we are required to get approval before acting. But we would certainly commence the process once it is approved. The amount is over N80bn, it is not yet up to N90bn, but it is up to that.” he stated.

Recall that Deposit Money Banks and telecom operators have been at odds since 2019 over non-remittance of USSD fees.

In 2019, telcos said they could no longer provide the services for free and proposed to take a cut of N4.50k per 20 seconds from the charges paid by customers to the banks.

However, the banks kicked against it, alleging that it would raise costs by 450 percent.

On March 12, 2021, telecom operators announced that they would suspend USSD service due to N42 billion in bank debt.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami had written to CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, highlighting the impending danger of the disagreement and highlighting the importance of banks paying the accumulated interest.

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