It has been revealed that the blame for the inability of Nigerians to make use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) for the purchase of airtime through banks on their phones lies at the feet of the banks and not telecom operators particularly, MTN, reports The Gazelle News.com.
For the past few days, Nigerians on the MTN network have not been able to do bank transactions involving telecom services on their phones or other devices. They have not been able to buy airtime from the telecom operator through the banks on their phones.
The banks blamed MTN for reducing the charges for agents on USSD usage. The banks subsequently removed MTN from their USSD operation which made it impossible for customers using MTN lines to recharge from their phones.
Contrary to the claim of yanking off MTN based on the reduction, The Gazelle News.com can reveal authoritatively that the banks were being economical with the truth.
Investigations by this medium revealed that the banks are only protecting their profits rather than the interest of their customers.
The Gazelle News.com learnt that the banks are owing telecom operators a whopping N42 billion debt accrued from charges on USSD which the banks have refused to pay.
“The banks are willing to cut off services to customers in order to protect profits. The telcos have allowed debts of N42 billion to accrue to ensure services remain up.”
“Banks have tried to remove the cost of using USSD, but are willing to cut off subscribers to protect their own fees earned through the channel,” sources told this newspaper.
According to our source, the banks are not willing to pay the accrued debt, but will rather push it to their customers through arbitrary charges.
“They don’t want to pay the N42 billion they are owing the telecom operators. Rather, they want to surreptitiously factor it into a new price regime so that customers will unknowingly help them pay what they had already billed them. It appears that MTN is aware of this and they refused hence their collective fight against the telecom giant,” our source added.
Meanwhile, the overnight suspension of airtime sales by some of the banks is not restricted to USSD channels alone, but includes airtime purchases through all banking channels – bank apps, bank USSD codes, even debit cards.