Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Ali Pantani, has put the brakes on the plan by the Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN) to introduce four naira (N4:00) charge per 20 seconds on USSD access to banking services from Monday.
Recall that over the weekend, MTN pushed out two separate messages abruptly announcing the new charges. The messages read: “Yello, as requested by your bank, from Oct 21, we will start charging you directly for USSD access to banking services. Please contact your bank for more info.”
“Yello, Please note that from Oct 21, we will charge N4 per 20 seconds for USSD access to banking services. Thank you.”
But in a statement, signed by the spokesperson of the Minister, Mrs. Uwa Suleiman, Spokesperson to the Minister of Communications and titled, Discontinuation of Alleged USSD Service Charge by MTN Nigeria, reads: “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.”