Nigerians may yet again bear the burden of this latest impasse.
The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has announced it will soon suspend Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) charges.
In a statement jointly signed by Gbenga Adebayo and Gbolahan Awonuga, ALTON chairman and head of operations respectively, the decision was due to the inability of banks to pay ₦42b owed.
ALTON said it had a partnership with financial service providers on bearing the cost of USSD access by end-users but the arrangement could not continue following the issuance of the USSD pricing determination by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
“The banks decided that they would no longer pay for USSD service delivered to their customers and requested our members to charge customers directly for use of the USSD channel,” the statement read.
“This billing methodology where the customer is directly charged USSD access fees by our members irrespective of the service charges that the bank may subsequently apply to the customers’ bank account is called ‘End-User Billing’ which the banks specifically demanded that all our members implement.
“The banks, however, provided no assurances to our members that such service fees charged to customers’ bank accounts for access to bank services through the USSD channel would be discontinued post implementation of end-user billing by our members.”