- Telecom Operators Demand Banks Pay for USSD
Telecommunications companies are demanding payment for the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services they render to banks or they will invoke the Communications Act and disconnect the service.
Telecom operators made the statement at the 20th anniversary of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) in Lagos.
Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman, ALTON, explained that telecom operators incurred expenses daily for offering banks USSD services.
He said, “The USSD is a service we are providing for the banks and there is a cost incurred by telecom operators for providing those services.
“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 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 said it is wrong for financial institutions to continue charging subscribers for USSD transactions without paying the network operators that facilitated the transactions.
He added, “If they think we should not charge, they also should not charge our subscribers. 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.”
The issue between telecom companies and Nigerian banks started after MTN Nigeria, in a message, told customers of its intention to charge N4 for 20 seconds of the USSD access.
While the telecom giant had said banks agreed to the proposed charge, banks denied any knowledge of the charge.