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USSD: Telecom Operators may disconnect banks if…, Say ALTON

…As Galaxy BackBone opens up for PPP

Telecommunications operators in Nigeria under the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), have raised fresh alarm on the unprecedented growth of debts owed it by banks in Nigeria over their silence in not paying up for the USSD services rendered to by operators.

ALTON averred that Nigeria banks’ debt to them for the provision of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) has increased to N80 billion from N42 billion reported last year. This is even as they alleged that the banks are not cooperating in paying the debt despite interventions from the government.

The Chairman of the Association, Engineer Gbenga Adebayo, disclosed this in Lagos on Thursday at the ICT Growth Conference organized by the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA).

According to him, the operators would have no choice but to disconnect some of the banks from the networks if they fail to pay.

Speaking at the conference, Adebayo said: “The banks would want us to be silent about the USSD debt, but it is not going away until they pay. At the last count, the debt is now N80 billion.

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“Some banks are responding while others are not. We are nearing that time when we have no choice but to discontinue the provisions of services  to banks.”

“I think it is dishonorable that our colleagues in that sector know that they have an obligation to service providers and are shying away from it.

“Banks remove charges from their customers but refuse to pay telecom operators. You don’t expect us to keep rendering services when you don’t pay

Meanwhile, in his presentation at the event, the Galaxy BackBone has said that the Federal Government agency is now ready for partnership with relevant industry stakeholders to deepen digital economy and growth in the country.

In his presentation, Mr. Chidi Opala, who represented the DG of the agency said the new partnership will amongst other things help to deliver ICT service to rural areas at a much lower cost than if they were to bear the whole cost.

Again, he revealed that to attain financial sustainability in the industry.

Explaining more on the achievements of the agency, Opala recalled that during Covid-19 lockdown, the agency was able to provide needed technology infrastructure for all federal government businesses to run smoothly including the Federal Executive Council meeting that were carried on virtually within the period under review.

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