A telecom tower in Nigeria. Photo: afkimages
Telecom operators In Nigeria have commenced the usage of unified Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) short codes across all networks.
With the harmonization, all mobile network services will be using the same customer care number and the same code for checking data balances and credit recharge.
This is a paradigm shift from the traditional use of different codes to perform a series of activities, such as inquiry, airtime recharge, and borrowing credit, among other things.
The new codes
- Call Center – 300
- Voice Mail Deposit – 301
- Voice Mail Retrieval -302
- Borrow Services – 303
- STOP Services – 304
- Check Balance – 310
- Credit Recharge – 311
- Data Plan – 312
- Shared Services – 321
- Data Plan Balance – 323
- Verification of SIM Registration/ NIN – SIM Linkage – 996
- Porting Services (MNP) – 2442
It is generally believed that many customers struggle to memorize the different codes, particularly those who use more than one network provider.
The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) said it will also create a user-friendly relationship between customers and telecom operators.
Furthermore, the harmonized code will meet up with current global realities in the telecommunications sector.
Another major implication is that any telecom operator who fails to harmonize the codes will eventually lose its customers as they won’t be able to access any of the previous codes.
According to the NCC in March 2023, 226, 161, 713 Nigerians have been active subscribers to different networks in the country.
With this staggering number of subscribers, the unified shortcodes will bring about coordination in the regulatory framework in the country’s telecommunications sector.
It is believed that the country’s telecommunication sector has done well in the past decades, but the network providers still need to address glitches in their network services as well as spread their services across “inaccessible” areas.
Writing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade; Editing by Saadatu Albashir