Commercial banks have restored Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) payment channel on MTN Nigeria’s platform after it was disconnected for two days.
Isa Ali Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, disclosed this in a Twitter post on Sunday while providing an update on the feud between the banks and the telecom operator.
Karl Toriola, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, also made this known in a letter copied to the chief executive officers of banks, according to TheCable.
Toriola stated that the telecom operator has decided to revert the discount offered to banks on airtime sales to 4.5 per cent commission.
The mobile network operator (MNO) had reduced banks’ commission from an average of 3.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent, leading to a disagreement between MTN and commercial banks and the subsequent suspension of USSD payment channels by the banks on the operator’s platform.
The letter read: “Our virtual meeting between yourself (Wigwe) and Segun Agbaje (MD of GTBank) on the one hand and myself (Toriola) and Modupe Kadri (chief financial officer of MTN Nigeria) on the other refers.
“In an attempt to resolve the current USSD recharge impasse, given the interventions from our regulators, we hereby agree 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.”
Millions of phone users have been unable to purchase MTN airtime via the USSD platform of banks and their banking mobile apps since Friday following the abrupt non-availability of the service.
The banks had asked MTN to reverse its action to the old commission or would block MTN airtime recharge services in both mobile banking applications and USSD platforms.
According to a source in the telecoms industry, who spoke exclusively to Newsbreak on Friday, the banks were the ones that single-handedly suspended the various USSD payment options without informing the telecom operator, partly due to the lingering N42 billion owed by the former and which they have refused to pay.
The source said MTN was forced to send a message to its subscribers due to the sudden unavailability of the USSD service, adding that the banks are trying to shift the payment of the debt on to customers through the new N6.98 service charge for each USSD transaction, as announced in a joint statement by the NCC and CBN on 16 March.
Pantami had in a Twitter post late Friday said he has waded in the standoff between banks and MTN Nigeria, assuring that the USSD service will soon be restored.
On Saturday, MTN announced a list of alternative channels through which subscribers can purchase airtime and access other financial transactions on its network.