FG intervenes as MTN, others plan to impose USSD charges

The federal government has ordered MTN, and other telecommunications network service providers, to suspend its planned charges on USSD access to banking services.

MTN in a text message to its subscribers on Sunday, October 20, 2019, announced the new plan to deduct N4.00 per USSD transaction.

“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 information,” the message read.

However, Nigerians on social media reacted bitterly to the planned move to impose USSD charges.

Isa Pantami, the minister of communication, on behalf of the federal government in a statement on Sunday, October 20, 2019, said his ministry was unaware of the plan and ordered the telecoms to suspend it.

The statement 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.”

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