USSD War: Banks reconnect MTN to USSD, other services

MTN reduced the banks' commission from 4.5 percent to 2.5 percent on Friday, creating problems.
MTN Retail Store

After its customers were disconnected from banking networks such as the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data and banking applications, MTN Nigeria has finally reduced commercial banks' commission to 4.5 percent.

MTN reduced the banks' commission from 4.5 percent to 2.5 percent on Friday, creating problems.

Banks had written to MTN requesting that they return to the old commission structure or risk having all of their networks blocked.

Except for Zenith Bank, which was directly connected to MTN, the banks blocked MTN from their banking networks.

Karl Toriola head of MTN in Nigeria: bows to pressure

MTN customers took to social media to express their dissatisfaction with the inability to recharge their MTN lines via USSD or other banking channels.

MTN also sent out a letter to its customers, requesting that they recharge their lines using physical cards.

“Dear Customer, our bank recharge channels are currently unavailable. Kindly recharge using physical cards. We apologise for the inconvenience. Thank you,” the message read.

After Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, intervened, the embargo on MTN and its customers was lifted.

Despite the minister's interference, the banks' positions remained unchanged. MTN had no choice but to return to the old commission structure.

On Saturday, MTN Chief Executive Officer Karl Toriola issued a statement addressed to Herbert Wigwe, Chairman of the Body of Banks' CEOs:

MTN Retail Store

“In an attempt to resolve the current USSD recharge impasse, given the intervention from our regulators, we hereby agree that the banks revert to the status quo of 4.5% 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.”

MTN customers were unblocked after receiving the alert, allowing them to recharge digitally through USSD and other channels linked to their accounts.