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N120bn USS Debt: MTN, Airtel, Others May Sue Zenith, Access, Others, Threaten Service Withdrawal

Telecommunication companies have threatened to withdraw their USSD services from the banks
The issue involves the N120 billion billing by the telcos from banks, which has lasted for years…..CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>

The telcos said that they might withdraw their services if the banks do not pay up

Telcos have threatened to halt the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) used by bank customers for transactions if the banks do pay their N120 billion owed.

The telcos say the issue has dragged on for too long and might need court intervention since the banks do not seem to bulge or be ready to clear the debt.
USSD, telco, Banks
Telcos moves disconnect banks over N120 billion USSD debt Credit: Tim Robberts Source: Getty Images
Withdraw service or go to court, telcos move to choose battle with banks

Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), stated this recently while speaking to journalists.

The development comes despite a reported resolution by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) over the lingering USSD debt debacle, which has lasted for about four years.

Adebayo said the telcos should withdraw their services and go to court for a final resolution.

He said:

“This is a commercial agreement that went south. This agreement provides third-party intervention, whether arbitration or heading for the Court of Law. If it can take its own life, parties will decide where to go. Instead of meeting in Abuja with the minister or the CBN, parties would decide where to go according to the agreement.”

No more new services for banks, telcos threaten

The ALTON Chairman highlighted the issue, saying that it is appropriate to withdraw the service to get the banks to pay up.

He noted that political interference makes it hard for the banks to pay and for the telcos to enforce commercial terms.

According to Adebayo, leaving such issues as price review to market forces and not government regulation is better.

He said that the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital is sympathetic to the plight of the telcos and asked parties to behave maturely.

Punch reports that the telcos had revealed in a document that the banks should expect something other than free service as there are costs to every service rendered.
FG, CBN, and others intervene.

The ex-Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Umar Danbatta, had said that the USSD debt was slowing down financial inclusion in Nigeria.

In May this year, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) waded into the protracted dispute between telecommunication companies and Nigerian banks over the N120 billion debt the banks owe to telcos.

The heated dispute led to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) giving the telecom companies the go-ahead to disconnect the banks.

Daily Trust reports that the NCC, the CBN, and the Minister of Communications intervened twice in the issue in 2020 and 2022 when the debts were N42 billion and N80 billion.
N150 billion USSD debt: CBN, NCC settle a dispute between Access Bank, Zenith, MTN, Airtel, others reported that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said they have resolved the longstanding dispute between telecom operators and commercial banks in Nigeria.

The N150 billion debt resulted from using Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) by bank customers.

Vice Chairman and CEO of NCC, Umar Danbatta, told telecom executives and regulators at a recent forum in Lagos that the CBN has ended the debacle with telecom operators...CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>

About the author


JOLOWO BUNALAYEFA PIUS is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for BUNADY NEWSLITE GLOBAL ENTERPRISE ( He started his Blogging/Journalism career at God's Own Wireless Company 2012. He's a graduate of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko Ondo State, with a major in History And International Studies. You can contact him for press events, advertisement promotions on Email:

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