MTN, Glo, Airtel Secures Govt Approval to Disconnect Banks' USSD Codes

MTN, Glo, Airtel Secures Govt Approval to Disconnect Banks' USSD Codes

  • Nigerian telecommunications companies, including MTN, GLO, and Airtel, have received approval from the NCC
  • This is because the banks have not paid their outstanding debts to the telcos for USSD services
  • As a result, customers of these banks may be unable to perform USSD transactions until the issue is resolved

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Mobile telecommunication companies in Nigeria have disclosed that they have received approval from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to disconnect banks' Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services.

The decision was taken following the failure of banks to pay their outstanding debt to telcos for USSD services, Punch reports.

Banks USSD
Telcos to disconnect banks USSD services Photo credit: @ncc
Source: UGC

The Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, who signed the statement revealed that the outstanding amount exceeds N120 billion and has been pending for several years.

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He further noted that said it had tried to resolve the issue with the banks through dialogue, but to no avail.

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Part of the statement reads:

“The DMBs have continued to incur greater and greater debt, without making the commensurate payments. Every time some progress is made, the DMBs come up with reasons to take stakeholders several steps back, in this matter.
“Members of the public will recall that MNOs and DMBs have had protracted disagreements concerning the appropriate USSD pricing model for financial transactions, transparency of charges, mode of collection, and liability for payment of the outstanding and continuous service fees due to the MNOs (which currently stand at over N120 billion).”

What is USSD?

USSD is a technology that allows users to access information and services from their mobile phones without the need for an internet connection.

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USSD services are typically used for banking, airtime top-up, and bill payments.

What will happen if banks' USSD services are disconnected?

If banks' USSD services are disconnected, bank customers will have to rely on banks mobile apps and web to carry out transactions.

They can also use their debit or credit cards to make payments.

CBN plans to turn phones, watches into PoS, ATMs

Meanwhile, in another report, CBN is preparing to issue guidelines to promote the safe and efficient use of contactless payments in Nigeria.

Guidelines cover technical and operational requirements, security measures, and standards for issuing and accepting contactless payment.

The move is part of the CBN's effort to modernise the cashless payment policy in the country.


Dave Ibemere avatar

Dave Ibemere (Senior Business Editor) Dave Ibemere is a senior business editor at He is a financial journalist with over a decade of experience in print and online media. He also holds a Master's degree from the University of Lagos. He is a member of the African Academy for Open-Source Investigation (AAOSI), the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations and other media think tank groups. He previously worked with The Guardian, BusinessDay, and headed the business desk at Ripples Nigeria. Email:

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