Minister directs suspension of USSD charges by MTN, others

The Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami has suspended the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) charges planned by one of Nigeria’s Mobile Network Operators, MTN.

The operator early Sunday morning sent two different text messages to its customers indicating that it would start charging N4 per 20 seconds for USSD access to banking services.

“Yello, as requested by your bank, from a October 21, we will start charging you directly for USSD access to banking services. Please contact your bank for more info,” the first text message read.

The second message read thus: “Yello, Please note that from October 21, we will charge N4 per 20 seconds for USSD access to banking services. Thank you.”

However, a statement by the Spokesperson to the Honourable Minister of Communications, Mrs Uwa Suleiman the Ministry was not aware of the development.

It also said the Minister had directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to ask MTN to suspend the charge with immediate effect.

“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, 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,” the statement read.

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