FG wades in, moves to resolve USSD dispute
MTN subscribers were left stranded for two days as commercial banks suspended the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service of the Mobile telecommunications operator.
This development prevented MTN customers from being able to purchase recharge cards and mobile data using USSD or through the banking app.
MTN however informed customers on Friday via text stating “Dear Customer, our bank recharge channels are currently unavailable. Kindly recharge using physical cards. We apologize for the inconvenience. Thank you.”
There have also been speculations that the dispute between the telco and banks is a result of the reduction of banks’ commission on airtime from an average of 3.5 percent to 2.5 percent by MTN. Some however feel the action of the bank is tied to the N42 billion debt owed by banks to telcos.
The Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo told Punch that the banks had demonstrated bad faith by disconnecting some of their services rendered to MTN.
“The attitude of the banks will charge the atmosphere, strain the relationships between us and we expect that the banks should tread very softly,”
Adebayo noted that the recent understanding between telcos and banks on the USSD had nothing to do with the problem on the ground now.
He said, “It appears that the issue now is some form of commercial disagreement on the commission payable for some form of vending on behalf of the operator.
“It is like when you buy airtime from someone and you have to pay a commission on it and all that. So this is the situation that has happened with the banks and that member of ours.”
The ALTON chairman, however, argued that even if it was a commercial agreement that had the problem, because of the impact of the failure of such agreement on the public, telcos expected that the banks should have known better.
The Minister of Communication & Digital Economy, Isa Pantami has disclosed that the disclosed Federal government has reached an advance stage in resolving the issues between MTN and some banks.