USSD Access Charges: MTN Nigeria Denies Implementing New Charging Model

MTNA customer uses a mobile phone beside an MTN Group Ltd. 'Connect Point' in Lagos, Nigeria. Photographer: George Osodi
  • USSD Access Charges: MTN Nigeria Denies Implementing New Charging Model

MTN Nigeria Communication Plc (MTN Nigeria) on Thursday denied the implementation of the new charging model announced for the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) last week.

The telecom giant had messaged subscribers last week that a new charging model will be implemented on Monday 21st October 2019.

However, the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Communications Commission and other stakeholders kicked against the new charging model directed at end-users.

The central bank had said it would impede its financial inclusion initiative and hurt the ongoing progress in the financial system.

While MTN said it was the decision of the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) that the USSD access charges previously shouldered by them should now be passed on to end-users, the DMBs refuted that allegation and insisted it was telecom companies‘ decision.

In a statement released by MTN Nigeria on Thursday, the telecom company said: “Following consultation with industry stakeholders, customers feedback and media reports related to the message notifying our customers of upcoming changes in our charging model for access to banking services via the USSD channel, we wish to confirm that the new charging model has not gone into effect.

“We believe the costs associated with USSD banking services should be charged to the consumer only once – as with other USSD based services we provide, which we believe has been adequately provisioned for within existing Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guidelines.

“It is in fact, in line with the National Financial Inclusion Strategy of the Federal Government that we resisted the calls for end-users billion. We relented only after exhausting avenues of engagement with the banks in pursuit of a model that enabled a single charge. We believe separate charges by the banks and telecoms companies are an unnecessary burden on the consumer especially the target group that the National Financial Inclusion Strategy is aimed at.

“With this in mind, it is imperative for all parties to approach the table and engage constructively towards a solution, putting the consumer at the fore of all decisions.

“The banks have been and still are our esteemed customers and valued partners. We look forward to collaborating with them and other stakeholders and will be glad to implement the decisions approved by our regulators.”

About the Author

Samed Olukoya
CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market. Contact Samed on Twitter: @sameolukoya; Email: [email protected]

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