It appears that some form clarity has now been provided by the recent pronouncement of the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (the ”NCC”), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, on the erstwhile controversial charges for USSD billing.
As with most controversies, the commercial terms became a big issue between the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and financial institutions (the Banks) that relied on USSD to provide certain financial services to its customers. The issues largely were in respect of the applicable charges for USSD services and the method of billing. Historically, the billing model adopted involved the MNOs charging their consumers directly, this led to significant complaints by the customers of the MNOs, who really could not understand firstly what the charges were and why the MNOs were charging for this.
A consensus was subsequently reached between the MNOs and the Banks to implement a corporate billing structure, where the Banks billed their customers for the cost associated with deploying the USSD platform for financial services and paid MNO’s agreed rates.