The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta, wants commercial banks in the country to settle N17bn they owe telecommunications companies following his commission’s suspension of its Determination on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) Pricing last year.
Danbatta made the debt disclosure during ATCON’s virtual forum on “Meeting the Interests of Government, Consumers and Telecoms Companies in the Era of Covid-19 and Post Covid-19 Pandemic for Digital Economy Development”, according a statement by Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC’s director of public affairs.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Ali Pantami had already been briefed on the development with a view to ensuring a quick settlement of the debt, Danbatta reportedly said at the forum.
READ ALSO: NCC Reviews Pricing Of USSD
Speaking on other issues, he said, “that ninety-eight per cent (98%) of the total service-related complaints received from telecoms consumers within a 15-month period, spanning January 2019 to April 2020, have been successfully resolved by the Commission.”
On quality of service, Danbatta said, “the Commission has monthly engagements with operators as well as quarterly industry working group on Quality of Service and Short Codes, and is currently monitoring 2G Key Performance Indicators, while the KPIs for 4G are being prepared.”
NCC had earlier said the amendment to its USSD Determination was necessitated by a protracted dispute between Mobile Network Operators and Financial Institutions on the applicable charges for USSD services and the method of billing.
Danbatta said that in the interest of the consumers and other stakeholders, the Commission revised the Determination previously issued by removing the Price Floor and the Cap to allow Mobile Network Operators and the banks negotiate rates that will be mutually beneficial to all parties concerned.
The NCC also determined that Mobile Network Operators must not charge the consumers directly for the use of USSD channels for financial services in the form of end-user-billing, but revert to corporate billing. The transaction should be between the MNOs and the entity to which the service is provided (i.e. Banks and Financial Institutions).