MTN Insists On Reducing Banks’ Commission Despite Lull In USSD War

MTN, Nigeria’s biggest telecommunication service provider, will go ahead with efforts to effect a reduction in the commission due to banks for the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service, despite a seeming respite in its face-off with the lenders.

Recall that the banks had reconnected MTN customers to their channels on Sunday; having earlier blocked them from using the service.

The development came after MTN had reduced the commission due to the banks. The telco had slashed the commission from 4.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent. Subsequently, the banks had taken offence at the action and proceeded to write MTN to revert to status quo.

Further, the lenders had also threatened to bar MTN customers from using the service and banking apps; a move they followed up with on Friday, leaving many Nigerians stranded and unable to recharge airtime.

Thereafter, MTN had also pulled a quick surprise.

It had snubbed the banks, connecting its customers to fintech platforms such as Kuda, OPay, Carbon and Flutterwave, among others.

Nevertheless, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, had stepped in. Following his intervention, as well as that of other stakeholders in the banking and ICT industry; MTN had revised to the 4.5 per cent commission.

Consequently, the banks had reconnected the telco’s customers to their channels.

However, report had it that MTN is not yet done with its mission to reduce the commission.

A meeting is set to be held between the telco and the lenders where a potential reduction in the USSD charges would be on the front burner. This was confirmed in a letter signed by MTN’s Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola. The letter revealed that the meeting would be held on Tuesday. It was addressed to the Chairman of Body of Banks CEOs, Herbert Wigwe, who doubles as Access Bank’s CEO.

“In an attempt to resolve the current USSD recharge impasse, given the intervention of our regulators, we hereby agree that the banks revert to the status quo of 4.5 per cent commission. However, the banks and MTN Communications Nigeria Plc shall sit to agree on various options that will result in the reduction in the costs on 6th of April 2021,’’ the letter read in part.

A number of them, including KongaPay, for instance, have proved to be excellent options; providing seamless service with zero charges and even offering customers bonuses on airtime recharge.

 

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