USSD War: Banks Unblocks MTN Lines Reconnects Telco To Banking Platform

Barely 48-hours after MTN lines across the country were disconnected by some banks in the country from their banking channels including the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data and banking apps, commercial banks on Sunday, April 4, 2021 have reconnected MTN customers to banking channels, KOKO TV confirms. Mtn Office

It is reported that the new development was reached following the intervention of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami; and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.
READ ALSO: USSD: Banks Disconnect MTN From Banking Channels

Its was reported that banks blocked MTN customers on Friday, leaving millions of MTN subscribers frustrated as they were unable to recharge airtime via USSD amid the Easter celebrations.

MTN, with about 77 million subscribers, making up about 45 per cent of the total telecommunication market share in Nigeria, is arguably the largest telecommunication operator in the country.

The blockade occurred when the telco reduced the banks’ commission from an average of 3.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent. The banks had written MTN to revert to the old commission, otherwise, they would block MTN airtime in all their channels.

The banks, except Zenith Bank which was connected directly to MTN, subsequently blocked MTN from their banking channels, leaving millions of customers stranded as they were unable to recharge virtually.
READ ALSO: MTN Snubs Banks, Connects 77 Million Subscribers To FINTECH Platforms As USSD War Escalates

MTN had snubbed the banks and opted for fintech companies such as Flutterwave, Jumia Pay, OPay, Kuda, Carbon and BillsnPay for customers to recharge their phones.

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However, in a letter obtained it is believed that MTN agreed that the banks revert to the status quo 4.5% commission while a meeting for the reduction of the charges will hold on Tuesday.

The letter dated April 3, 2021 was signed by MTN Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola, and it was addressed to the Chairman of Body of Banks’ CEOs, Herbert Wigwe.

Toriola in the letter said, “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.”

The banks subsequently unblocked MTN customers from their banking channels, thus enabling them to recharge virtually via USSD and other channels linked to their accounts.

Photo Credit: Getty

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