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Financial Inclusion: Airtel Nigeria Reverts to End User Billing System for USSD

USSD

We shall be reverting to end user billing for USSD code effective from October 1, 2019 – Airtel

In response to the demand of the CEOs of the Money Deposit Bank in Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria has dumped the newly introduced corporate level billing for the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data [USSD] services and reverted to the old end user billing system.

The CEOs of banks recently kicked against the corporate billing system introduced in August by the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).

The banks’ chief claimed that such corporate billing would render the financial inclusion initiative of the Federal Government unattainable.

The corporate level billing for the USSD services is forcing the banks to adhere to N4.5 per USSD session of 20 seconds. This amount to about 450% increase in tariff.

While expressing their grouse, the banks’ CEO petitioned the telcos under the Body of Banks’ Chief Executive Officers – a committee of the governing council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria [CIBN] – and lamented that the new tariff will frustrate the financial inclusion strides made by the banks where over 20 million Nigerians have been included by building services that run on the USSD.

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The bank CEOs also vowed to resist the implementation of the new USSD tariff.

“We will resist the move to reverse billing by multinational telecoms companies for the good of our national agenda. Reverse billing gives no visibility on actual sessions used, forces us to pay for failed sessions and leaves us exposed to spurious USSD usage that will increase cost,” they said in a statement.

Dated September 24, 2019, Airtel’s letter, which was addressed to one of the banks and signed by Muyiwa Ebitanmi, Airtel’s Head, Mobile Financial Services and Charles Bassey, the company’s Senior Manager, Mobile Financial Services, informed the bank that the communication giant will revert to end user billing system.

The letter reads: “In reference to our communication in August 2019 on Airtel USSD pay model, we write to inform that we shall be reverting to end user billing for USSD code effective from October 1, 2019.

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“This is to enable us jointly review the touching issues identified in the current models and develop a mutually agreed methodology for transparent billing as well as robust reporting platform that will create visibility on the session cost across board,” the letter ends.