Telcos are retiring obsolete USSD codes.

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As instructed by the Nigerian Communications Commission, telecommunications companies have begun to phase out outdated Unstructured Supplementary Service Data shortcodes in favor of new harmonised ones. Famous USSD codes like *556# have become obsolete as a result of this change.

While MTN appears to have retired its old USSD shortcodes, other telecoms have not. Checks on Airtel revealed that the old USSD codes coexist with the new ones.

In March, the NCC approved and released harmonised shortcodes for certain mobile operations in the country. The commission stated that this was aimed at achieving uniformity in common short codes across networks, allowing the code for checking airtime balance, for instance, to become the same across all mobile networks.

It gave the mobile network providers a deadline of May 17, 2023, to fully migrate to the harmonised codes. It explained that while the old and new harmonised shortcodes would run concurrently up until May 17, 2023, all networks are expected to have fully migrated to the new codes by its deadline.

“The project, according to the NCC, will make  life much easier for telecom consumers since it will now become easier for consumers to memorise single codes for various services across all mobile networks they may be using.


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