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Telecoms begin phasing out old USSD codes

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The approved harmonised Unstructured Supplementary Service Data shortcodes are beginning to be used by telecommunication, as the old ones phase out.

In March, the Nigerian Communications Commission directed the telecoms to use shortcodes for certain mobile operations in the country.

Among the telecoms, MTN Nigeria is the only one that has followed this NCC’s directive, as its famous *556# is now outdated. MTN Nigeria’s old USSD prompts now redirect customers to a message that reads, “Y’ello Our codes have changed.

Meanwhile, other telecoms are yet to do so. For Airtel, the old USSD codes are working simultaneously with the new ones.

The aim of the harmonised USSD, according to the NCC was to achieve uniformity in common short codes across networks, allowing the code for checking airtime balance.

The deadline for the full migration was May 17, 2023, to fully migrate to the harmonised codes.

Speaking on the codes, the commission said, “Consequently, under the new harmonised shortcodes regime, 13 common short codes have been approved by the Commission.

“They include the following codes: 300 to be used as the harmonised code for Call Centre/Help Desk on all mobile networks; 301 for voice Mail Deposit; 302 for Voice Mail Retrieval; 303 for Borrow Services; 305 for STOP Service; 310 for Check Balance, and 311 for Credit Recharge.

“Also, the common code for Data Plan across networks is now 312. In line with the new direction, 321 is for Share Services, while 323 is for Data Plan Balance. The code, 996, is now for Verification of Subscriber Identity Module Registration/NIN-SIM Linkage.

“The code, 2442, is retained for Do-Not-Disturb unsolicited messaging complaint management, while the common code, 3232, is also retained for porting services, otherwise called Mobile Number Portability.”

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