The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) might disconnect banks across the country from accessing the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) over rising debt.
Members of ALTON which include MTN Nigeria, Airtel, Glo, 9Mobile, and other telecoms operators threatened to prevent bank customers from accessing the USSD platform after a disagreement banks.
The Chairman of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, who spoke at the ICT Growth Conference in Lagos on Thursday, September 29, said the debt owed by the banks to the telecommunications companies has increased from N42 billion in 2021 to N80 billion in 2022
Adebayo said the debt arose from the USSD services the telecoms firms provide to the banks. He said the banks have been charging their customers for using their USSD platforms, but refused to pay commission to the telecoms. He said: “The banks would want us to be silent about the USSD debt. But it is not going away until they pay. At the last count, the debt is now N80 billion. “Some banks are responding while others are not. We are nearing that time when we have no choice but to discontinue the provisions of services to banks.”
He described the banks as “dishonorable” for refusing to honour their obligation to the service providers. “Banks remove charges from their customers but refuse to pay telecom operators. You don’t expect us to keep rendering services when you don’t pay. “The irony of it is that if it was the other way round you can’t owe the bank a cent,” Adebayo added.