Commercial banks in the country are owing telecommunications companies over N17 billion on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) pricing last year, the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC), has said.
The commission said this through a statement signed by the spokesperson, Ikechukwu Adinde, on Thursday.
According to the statement, the Executive Vice Chairman NCC, Umar Danbatta, said the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, had already been briefed on the development with a view to ensuring a quick settlement of the debt.
The statement said when the Commission introduced the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) code in 2015, less than 500,000 people activated the code, but there are now 22,722,366 lines on the DND.
It said 98 per cent of the total service-related complaints received from telecoms consumers within a 15-month period, spanning January 2019 to April 2020, have been successfully resolved by the Commission.
The statement highlighted that “the Commission has monthly engagements with operators as well as quarterly industry working groups on Quality of Service and Short Codes, and is currently monitoring 2G Key Performance Indicators, while the KPIs for 4G are being prepared.”
The amendment to its USSD Determination was necessitated by a protracted dispute between Mobile Network Operators and Financial Institutions on the applicable charges for USSD services and the method of billing.
As a responsive and effective regulatory authority, the Commission recognises that its policies are not static and may be modified from time to time as circumstances demand.
The statement said in the interest of the consumers and other stakeholders, the commission revised the Determination previously issued by removing the Price Floor and the Cap to allow Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the banks negotiate rates that will be mutually beneficial to all parties concerned.
Also, it said MNOs must not charge the consumers directly for the use of USSD channels for financial services in the form of end-user-billing but revert to corporate billing.
“The transaction should be between the MNOs and the entity to which the service is provided (i.e. Banks and Financial Institutions),” it said.