Telecommunications operators in Nigeria may disconnect service to banks as their unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) debt has reached 80 billion nairas ($184.89 million), The Guardian Nigeria reported.

USSD is essential for banks to provide a range of services to their customers since it is a protocol that allows them to communicate with customers via text message.

Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria’s Chairman Gbenga Adebayo cautioned that bank customers might face issues with transfers and other transactions associated with the service if the threat is implemented.

“USSD service might be cut off from defaulting banks,” he stated.

The debts were initially reported almost two years ago when it was below 40 billion nairas. However,  banks refused to pay, leading it to reach about N80 billion, Adebayo said.

After nearly two years of talks, the charge was finalised at 6.98 nairas per transaction with the Central Bank of Nigeria, while the Communications Commission (NCC) passed the fees to users.

In December 2019, ALTON had warned to shut down USSD platforms over a $103 million debt. 

(Editing by Seban Scaria