NCC extends Harmonized codes implementation to 17 june, 2023

Harmonized codes also known as unified short codes
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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) stands as a regulatory authority that strives to ensure the seamless functioning of the country’s telecommunications networks. This responsibility includes the introduction of new harmonized codes, a move aimed at streamlining the telecommunications experience for customers across the nation.

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As of May, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) announced the introduction of 13 new harmonized codes, urging mobile network operators (MNOs) to implement them into their systems. The implementation of these codes, while essential for the growth and efficiency of the telecom industry, was not without its share of challenges. Various stakeholders raised concerns, leading the NCC to extend the initial implementation deadline. This extension was a deliberate step to address these concerns and to provide mobile network operators (MNOs) with the time needed to adapt their systems accordingly. Such considerations underscore the NCC’s commitment to a smooth transition for all parties involved.

The grace period ends on June 17, 2023, after which all existing USSD codes will cease to operate as directed by the NCC. To ensure a seamless transition, MNOs have called upon their partners and agents to create awareness among customers regarding the new harmonized codes.

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A letter from Airtel about awareness creation of NCC new harmonized codes.

Challenges Faced

The implementation of the new harmonized codes faced several challenges, leading to the NCC’s decision to extend the deadline. Setbacks and complaints from various stakeholders highlighted the need for further preparation. By postponing the implementation, the NCC aimed to address these concerns and provide MNOs with sufficient time to adapt their systems.

One Month Grace Period

The NCC’s one-month grace period will conclude on June 17, 2023. After this date, all existing USSD codes will no longer be functional. This directive emphasizes the NCC’s commitment to the implementation of the new harmonized codes. MNOs must adhere to the instructions laid out by the NCC, making the necessary adjustments to their systems to accommodate the changes.

Educating Customers

Recognizing the importance of customer awareness, MNOs are actively engaging their partners and agents to educate customers about the regulatory change. Printed vouchers, a common method of top-up or recharge for mobile services, will now feature the new harmonized codes instead of the existing ones. This will ensure that customers become familiar with the new codes and the reasons behind their implementation.

Product Transition and Awareness Campaign of New harmonized codes

While some existing products may still carry the previous short codes due to remaining stock, MNOs will manufacture all newly developed products with the new harmonized codes. This approach streamlines the transition and minimizes confusion among customers.

Partners and agents play a crucial role in creating awareness campaigns. By actively educating customers, they ensure a smooth adoption of the new harmonized codes. Through various communication channels, including in-store materials, digital platforms, and customer support, MNOs aim to disseminate information effectively and address any concerns or queries raised by customers.


The NCC’s decision to extend the implementation deadline for new harmonized codes demonstrates its commitment to a successful transition. MNOs, partnering with agents and distributors, are focused on educating customers and raising awareness. By ensuring customers are well-informed and acquainted with the new codes, telco companies prioritize customer satisfaction and facilitate a seamless experience.


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