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Banks owe telcos N70b over USSD charges

Commercial banks are owning telecommunication companies over N70b on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), according to investigations.

The terms of charging customers had in the past led to arguments between banks and telcos, while banks had asked the telcos to charge customers they too will charge them, translating to double charging.

According to the CEO, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Garba Danbatta, the debt accumulated following the regulator’s suspension of its Determination on USSD Pricing last year.

He promised that this will be settled through a tripartite agreement among the lenders– the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the telecoms regulator.

The telcos accused the banks of converting USSD channel to a money-making venture instead of being a service channel for promoting financial inclusion.

Prof Danbatta said 98 percent of the total service-related complaints received from consumers within a 15-month period have been successfully resolved by the Commission.

He added that “The Commission has monthly engagements with operators as well as quarterly industry working group on quality of service and short codes, and is currently monitoring 2G Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), while that of 4G are being prepared.”

The NCC said the amendment to its USSD determination was necessitated by a protracted dispute between Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and financial institutions on the applicable charges for USSD services and the method of billing.

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