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USSD Service May no Longer be Available as Network Providers Threaten Banks

Network providers have threatened to halt the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) offered to the financial institutions operating in the country due to N80 billion unpaid debt.

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Network providers have threatened to halt the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) offered to the financial institutions operating in the country due to N80 billion unpaid debt.

Investors King learnt that the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) says it might be forced to stop Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services because banks have failed to pay for services rendered.

Speaking at a conference in Lagos, ALTCON chairman, Mr Gbenga Adebayo lamented that the debt which stood at N42 billion earlier this year has now risen to N80 billion. 

Adebayo noted that despite the government’s effort to resolve the matter, many banks were not cooperating as regards paying their debt. 

He further disclosed that the telecom operators might have to disconnect the banks from the USSD service until they do the needful.

It will be recalled that in March 2021, telecommunication operators had threatened to withdraw their USSD services to financial institutions due to the N42 billion accumulated debt.

The huge debt was a result of the deduction from the commission during the transactions. However, the banks failed to remit to the telecommunications operators who own the infrastructure used for the transactions. 

The USSD service has become an integral part of the Nigerian banking system. Some of the services available on USSD include money transfer, checking of account balance and buying mobile airtime.

Other services which can be carried out on USSD include buying data and generating bank statements or pin codes.

No doubt, the USSD service has significantly helped to drive the CBN cashless policy and financial inclusion. 

It is believed that millions of Nigerians who do not have a smartphone or run out of data or internet connection often resolve to the USSD service. Billions of naira are transacted every day through USSD. Statista reported that the value of USSD transactions in 2020 was a whopping N550 billion. 

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Telecommunications

MTN to Bid For Second 5G Spectrum; Other Telcos Protest

MTN to bid for a second 5g spectrum on December 16, 2022

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MTN Nigeria - Investors King

Nigerian mobile telecommunications company, MTN has showcased a potential interest to bid for a second 5G spectrum in the forthcoming auction which is scheduled for December 19, 2022.

The potential bidding however has been opposed by other telecommunication companies which claimed the move is against the spirit of competition. 

Investors King could recall that MTN and Mafab Communications won the first 3.5GHz spectrum license for a 5G network which was auctioned in December 2021 by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).

The highly competitive auction which took place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja also witnessed the participation of Airtel

Subsequently, in September 2022, MTN finally launched the 5G network to boost internet speed in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano, Owerri, and Maiduguri.

However, to access the 5G network, users will need to have compatible devices which is a bit expensive for average Nigerians.

To this end, MTN thereafter partnered with a phone financing company, Intelligra to bridge the cost of 5G-enabled smartphones. 

According to MTN Chief Marketing Officer, Adia Sowho, the partnership with Intelligra is aimed to drive 5G adoption in Nigeria. 

Meanwhile, barely two months after MTN launched its 5G network, the leading telecommunication company in Nigeria has showcased a potential bid for the second spectrum which is scheduled to hold on Friday. 

At a stakeholders engagement meeting organised in Lagos, MTN’s General Manager, Regulatory Affairs, Ikenna Ikeme, said the company had entered the last auction in 2021 with the expectation that it was an open market and it would be allowed to participate in other auctions should the need arise.

This, however, did not go down well with other telecommunication companies which claimed that should MTN be allowed to participate in the second auction and eventually win, it will make them dormant players which could affect the overall growth of the industry. 

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Umar Garba Danbatta who presided over the engagement session noted that all contending issues will be given due consideration before the auction on Friday. 

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Telecommunications

Access Bank, Zenith Bank, Others Activity Level Jump Despite Stock Market Negative Close

Investors transacted 187,094,282 shares worth N2.535 billion in 3,326 transactions with Access Bank accounting for 87,923,339 shares valued at N704,474,274.95

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Despite the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) opening in the red on Monday, activity on Access Bank continued to increase while Zenith Bank and others followed closely.

Investors transacted 187,094,282 shares worth N2.535 billion in 3,326 transactions with Access Bank accounting for 87,923,339 shares valued at N704,474,274.95. This may not be unconnected to Herbert Wigwe’s recent acquisition. The Chairman, Access Holdings Plc has dumped almost a billion on Access Bank stocks in the last one month.

The banking index appreciated by 26 basis points (bps) on 3.48% and 1.42% gain in the value of Union Bank of Nigeria and Sterling Bank.

The consumer goods index and industrial index were unchanged on Monday. The oil and gas shed 38 basis points on 2.56% decline in Oando.

The market vaue of all listed equities stood at N23.867 trillion, a decline of N82 billion from N23.949 trillion it closed on Friday. The NGX All-share index shed 0.34% from 43,968.75 index points it settled last week to 43,818.12 index points.

The Exchange Yea-to-date return declined to 2.58% as only 13 stocks closed in the green against another 13 that lost points. See other details below.

Top Five Gainers

Symbols Last Close Current Change %Change
FTNCOCOA N 0.31 N 0.34 0.03 9.68 %
CHIPLC N 0.58 N 0.62 0.04 6.90 %
MANSARD N 1.53 N 1.62 0.09 5.88 %
CHAMS N 0.24 N 0.25 0.01 4.17 %
UBN N 5.75 N 5.95 0.20 3.48 %

Top Five Losers 

Symbols Last Close Current Change %Change
JOHNHOLT N 0.81 N 0.73 -0.08 -9.88 %
SCOA N 1.75 N 1.58 -0.17 -9.71 %
PRESTIGE N 0.39 N 0.36 -0.03 -7.69 %
UNITYBNK N 0.57 N 0.54 -0.03 -5.26 %
AFRIPRUD N 5.35 N 5.10 -0.25 -4.67 %

Top Five Trades

Symbols Volume Value
ACCESSCORP 87923339.00 704474274.95
ZENITHBANK 19323689.00 385788915.25
TRANSCORP 10679983.00 11613144.33
UNITYBNK 10175240.00 5339887.59
NGXGROUP 5255594.00 112846073.20

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Telecommunications

About 9.7 Million Phone Numbers Barred From Making Calls

Around 9.7 million phone numbers were barred by the two largest telecommunications companies in Africa.

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MTN

Two leading mobile telecommunications networks in Nigeria, MTN and Airtel have barred about 9.7 million phone numbers from making calls due to issues related to National Identification Numbers. Earnings reports filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show. 

Investors King gathered that in April 2022, more than 72 million phone numbers were barred from making calls. The directive to barn phone numbers that were not linked to their National Identification Number came from the Federal Government through the Nigeria Commission Commission (NCC). 

A joint statement released by the spokespersons of NCC, Ikechukwu Adinde, and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Kayode Adegoke partly read: 

“Outgoing calls will subsequently be barred for telephone lines that have not complied with the NIN-SIM linkage Policy from the 4th of April, 2022. Subscribers of such lines are hereby advised to link their SIMs to their NINs before the Telcos can lift the restriction on their lines,”. 

The statement added that the president has approved the implementation of the policy after the deadline has been extended on several occasions. 

The federal government had earlier stated that the policy will help the government to fight insecurity, particularly bandits and terrorists. 

Meanwhile, both MTN and Airtel have revealed that the policy has eaten deep into their profit as almost 10 million phone subscribers could not make outgoing calls. 

A look at the two telecoms eating reports shows that while 16. 2 million subscribers who had their lines barred have submitted their NINs for verification only 6.5 million had been verified as of September 30, 2022

Leaving about 9.7 million phone subscribers in the cold despite submitting their NIN for linkage. A responsibility that is expected of the National Identity Management Commission

Revenue growth for the first half of the year was impacted by the effect of barring outgoing voice calls in Nigeria for those customers who had not submitted their NINs, Airtel noted in its report. 

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