NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT HAS DIRECTED MTN NIGERIA, and other mobile network operators, on Sunday, to immediately suspend the proposed four-naira charge per 20 seconds on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, USSD, access to banking services on customers who subscribed to it.
Notice by MTN, sent to customers on the proposed charge reads: “Yello, Please note that from Oct 21, we will charge N4 per 20 seconds for USSD access to banking services. Thank you”.
Nigerian social media reverberated with reactions against the proposed charge. And swift reactions followed by Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Isa Pantami, through a statement from his spokesman, Uwa Suleiman.
“The attention of the Federal Ministry of Communications has been drawn to the viral text message allegedly sent by the Mobile Network Operator MTN Nigeria and other Mobile Operators notifying subscribers of a four naira (N4:00) charge per 20 seconds on USSD access to banking services from the 21st of October 2019.
“The office of the Honourable Minister of Communications Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM is unaware of this development and has hereby directed the sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ensures the operator suspends such plans until the Honourable Minister is fully and properly briefed.”
Government’s directive was issued after a twitter user, Mustapha Hadi, tweeted at Pantami, requesting him to act on the network’s proposed charge. Ali Pantami seemed to be unaware of the proposed charge, and ordered its immediate suspension until he is briefed on the matter.