The federal government has ordered the suspension of the proposed increase in supplementary service data (USSD) channels to access banking services.
According to Guardian, some telecommunications network service providers had sent notices to their subscribers that with effect from Monday, USSD will attract extra charges.
The notification read: “Please note that from Oct 21, we will charge N4 per 20 seconds for USSD access to banking services. Thank you,” adding that the development was requested by users’ banks.
The new charge would have seen customers paying N12 for every minute spent on the USSD channel but in light of the new development, the minister of communications, Isa Pantami ordered a halt to the plan until his office was briefed.
The press statement by the federal ministry of communications read:
The attention of the federal ministry of communications has been drawn to the viral text message allegedly sent by the Mobile Network Operator MTN Nigeria and other Mobile Operators notifying subscribers of a four naira (N4:00) charge per 20 seconds on USSD access to banking services from the 21st of October 2019,” he said in a statement, Uwa Suleiman, spokeswoman of the ministry, issued on his behalf.
The office of the Honourable Minister of Communications Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FllM is unaware of this development and has hereby directed the sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ensures the operator suspends such plans until the Honourable Minister is fully and properly briefed.
Banking services were introduced on USSD channels to ensure easier access.