The Nigerian Communications Commission has stopped Mobile Network Operators from charging the consumers directly for the use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data channels for financial services in the form of end-user-billing. It said rather billing over USSD usage should be between the telecom companies and the entity to which the service is provided (i.e. banks and financial institutions).
The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who disclosed this in statement on Wednesday, said the decision was taken in the interest of all Nigerians and support a robust telecommunications sector. “In the interest of the consumers and other stakeholders, NCC has revised the determination previously issued by removing the price floor and the cap to allow the mobile network operators and the banks negotiate rates that’ll be mutually beneficial to all parties concerned’’, he said. He said the amendment was necessitated following 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, we recognize that our policies are not static and may be modified from time to time as circumstances demand’’, he added
This is coming on the heels of a recent directive by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, regarding a review of the USSD pricing by all parties involved, following a presentation made by the Commission on the billing structure, determination of USSD pricing, current status and the way forward.