Banks and MTN in Nigeria agree to restore suspended USSD services
The banks and MTN Nigeria have agreed on various options that will result in a reduction in the costs.
Nigerian banking and communication regulators intervened in a dispute that resulted in most Nigerian lenders cutting off MTN Nigeria from their banking platforms, making it impossible for millions of customers to buy credit for their phones.
MTN Nigeria agreed to restore the commission it pays lenders for providing payment platforms to subscribers following an intervention from the central bank and the minister of communication and digital economy, spokesperson for the telecommunications company Funso Aina said by phone on Sunday.
“We hereby agree that the banks revert to the status quo of 4.5% commission,” MTN Nigeria Managing Director Karl Toriola said in a letter to the chairman of a group of bank chief executives shared by Aina. The banks and the company will meet again on April 6 to resolve any dispute, according to the letter.
All lenders in Africa’s most populous country, except Zenith Bank, took MTN Nigeria off their platforms after MTN reduced the commission by almost half to 2.5%. Airtime sales were suspended through all channels — banking apps, USSD codes, and even debit cards. MTN is the West African nation’s biggest telecom services provider with about 79 million subscribers.
Banking channels are the preferred medium for many Nigerians to buy call credits on their phones because of the convenience they provide. Other telcos have not been affected by the action. The banks couldn’t be reached for comment.
What you should know
- Commercial banks had asked MTN to revert to the old commission or they would block MTN airtime recharge services in both mobile banking applications and USSD payment channels.
- Due to MTN’s refusal to revert to the previous commission percentage, commercial banks, which are connected directly to the mobile network operator, denied customers access to the USSD platform, according to the Financial Stand.
- On Friday, Dr. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy issued a statement assuring subscribers that the issue would be resolved and services restored.