USSD Crisis: Banks Finally Unblock MTN


MTN customers have been reconnected to the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) payment channels.

The blockade occurred when MTN reduced the banks’ commission from an average of 4.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent.

According to DailyTrust, that the banks had threatened to block MTN airtime on all their channels if MTN did not revert to the old commission.

On Friday, many MTN customers had lamented the inability to buy airtime or mobile data because all the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) had blocked the telco from banking channels.

The telco had advised subscribers to seek alternative means of recharging their phones.

“Dear Customer, our bank recharge channels are currently unavailable. Kindly recharge using physical cards. We apologise for the inconvenience. Thank you,” one message read.

Another message read: “Please be informed that some of MyCustomers may not be able to purchase airtime and data recharges via banks including MOD and myMTN App. Please pacify MyCustomers and educate them to use MTNTopit, MoMo channels, as well as the debit card options on MOD or myMTN App,” another message read.

But the Federal Government had assured MTN customers that the issue will be resolved.

In a letter on Sunday, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola, announced the decision to revert discount to 4.5 percent commission.

The mobile network operator (MNO) had reduced banks’ commission from an average of 3.5 percent to 2.5 percent, this led to a disagreement between MTN and commercial banks.

“Our virtual meeting between yourself (Wigwe) and Segun Agbaje (MD of GTBank) on the one hand and myself (Toriola) and Modupe Kadri (chief financial officer of MTN Nigeria) on the other refers,” the letter read.

“In an attempt to resolve the current USSD recharge impasse, given the interventions from our regulators, we hereby agree The Banks revert to the status quo of 4.5% commission.”

MTN is arguably the largest telecommunication operator in the country.