USSD: Banks plugs back MTN after government’s intervention

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Customers of MTN can now use the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and other banking channels including mobile apps 48 hours after the telco was unplugged by commercial banks in contention over fees from USSD transactions.

The disconnection ended after government intervened at the weekend.  

“We have reached an advanced stage of resolving the issues, for the services to be restored to our citizens,” said Minister of Communication & Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami after a meeting with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele and the EVC/CEO of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Executive Vice Chairman/CEO: Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta.

77m subscribers shut out

The issue was resolved over the weekend and MTN was plugged back by the banks. MTN dominates Nigerian mobile telecom market of over 160 million subscribers where it leads with more than 77 million subscribers, or 45% of the market share to make it Africa’s dominant operator.  

Angry banks decided to tame MTN after the mobile operator reduced the banks’ commission from an average of 3.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent. The banks asked MTN to revert to the old commission. It refused and they unplug it from their platform.  Only Zenith Bank was unaffected as MTN has direct link with the bank

Pantami intervened as a matter of urgency because the disconnection was undermining Nigeria’s strong narrative on digital economy, said a ministry’s source.


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